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Thursday, February 07, 2008

Tracking Florida's Superdelegates

Now that the hand wringing has begun over the very real possibility of a brokered convention in Denver there are some projections now that show it will be impossible to determine the nominee with the remaining primary schedule and leaving it up to the superdelegates. Yesterday, Donna Brazile the former campaign manager for Al Gore in 2000 and a superdelegate herself, stated flately she will resign from the Democratic party if it comes down to superdelegates. She went on to say it was unfair to have delegates other than the pledged delegates chosen by Democratic party primary voters to be in a position to chose the nominee.

What's even more obvious now are the unnamed delegates from Florida and Michigan and the potential role they will play in the post primary season. Let's not forget how we got here courtesy of the Republican dominated state house. The Florida GOP knew the DNC would come down harshly in an attempt to preserve Iowa and New Hampshire's first in the nation status for presidential primaries while the RNC would only administer a slap on the hand to their state party. The Florida GOP knew the Democratic party presidential contenders would honor the penalties administered by the DNC and stay away from the state leaving an open field and free media coverage to the GOP contenders. What had happened to allow this to take place with as little obstruction as possible for the Democrats was the deal they struck with the GOP leadership to stay quiet while they allowed a provision to pass through both houses making a switch to paper ballots for the November 2008 general election. Leading up to the state primary and even on the night of the primary this fact was never mentioned. Only that the Florida primary was little more than a beauty contest since delegates would not be selected for the 2008 convention.

Why the state Democratic party didn't see fit to blast the fact we were cornered in a mass of press releases to the media throughout the march up to the primary to make sure the voters understood the GOP's duplicity in this matter is beyond this blogger. Spinelessness seems to be congentical for the Democratic party in this day and age and the only way to remedy this is to elect new Democrats not afraid of the GOP and and the fact they might ....[gasp!]say some awful things about us in the press! I lay the blame for all of this at the feet of state party chair Karen L. Thurman and Sen. Bill Nelson. Being aware of the difficult position we state Democrats find ourselve in they never seem to mention it whenever I hear of them in the media. Then we have state elected officials like State Sen. Jeremy Ring, D-Margate who plays the perfect patsy for the state GOP machine:
'State Sen. Jeremy Ring, D-Margate, who sponsored the elections bill in the Senate, predicted the early primary would force Democratic presidential candidates to campaign vigorously in the state, even if threatened with national party sanctions."If our choice is to be relevant and have no delegates or be irrelevant and have delegates, I'd rather be relevant. ... I'm confident the candidates will campaign in the state," Ring said.'
And how far off the mark was Mr. Ring with his bold prediction? Only Hillary showed up after the primary was over to thank the voters for a her political pyrric victory. With elected state Democratic officals like this who the hell needs GOP adversaries? I've been a yellow dog Democrat all my life and I don't ever intend to leave the party. But just once while I'm still alive and kicking I'd like to see one Democrat stand up and slap back when the GOP punches us, smirks, and just walks off. Just once.

This brings us to the status of superdelegates and a current break down of who is currenlty pledged and unpledged. There is already a great site that follows their status but being a political junkie like myself and a state blogger they bear close attention since according to the Democratic party state bylaws of Florida they are free to switch candidates at anytime and for any reason. First let's take a look at the Florida superdelegates currently pledged to Senator Clinton:
U.S. Senator:
Bill Nelson;
House of Representatives:
Debbie Wasserman Schultz; Alcee Hastings; Corinne Brown (my representative); Kendrid Meek;
DNC Official:
Paul Martinez.
Then comes the pledged superdelegates for Senator Obama:
House of Representatives: Robert Wexler
DNC party offical and member of Sen. Obama's campaign: Allan Katz.
Last, but not least are the unpledged superdelegates:
House of Representatives:
Allan Boyd; Kathy Castor; Tim Mahoney; Ron Klein.
DNC official/member:
Andrew Tobias;
Florida Democratic Party official: State Chair Rep. Karen L. Thurman; State Vice Chair
Rudolph Parker; Terrie Brady; Mitchell Ceasar; Hon. Joyce Cusak; Diane Glasser; Chuck Mohlke; and Janee Murphy.
In the coming days and weeks to follow I'll give frequent reports on these superdelegates with analysis as to how critical they are to the nominationg process as we move closer to the convention. A discussion of their options and the likelihood of an impending switch of support along with the fate of our state delegation might just turn out to have historical implications regarding this election.

Update: Here's a change in superdelegate status that's been a long time coming. A long *&%@# time.

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