From NBC's Mark Murray
In a joint statement, Florida's 10 congressional Democrats said that they're firmly set to go ahead with their primary on January 29, despite the Democratic National Committee's vow that it will strip all of state party's delegates to the 2008 Democratic National Convention -- unless the Florida Democratic Party acts in the next 30 days to delay its nominating contest (in the form of a caucus).
"We cannot go along with anything but the state-run primary set for next January," the lawmakers said in the statement. "We strongly encourage all Democrats to vote for their preferred nominee in that primary, regardless of whatever penalties the DNC might enact."
But, in the last paragraph of the statement, the lawmakers did suggest that they're willing to reach some kind of compromise. "We hope that over the next few weeks, the DNC and its chairman will show a willingness to work with us to find an equitable solution that is acceptable to all."
See below for the entire release...
Tuesday, Aug. 28, 2007
Dan McLaughlin ( Nelson )
David Goldenberg ( Hastings )
Florida lawmakers unanimous in vow to support voters' rights
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Members of Florida's Democratic congressional delegation unanimously declared Tuesday they'll support voters' rights to have their ballots count in a Jan. 29 statewide presidential primary, in lieu of a later caucus of candidates' supporters as just ordered by the Democratic National Committee (DNC).
"We cannot go along with anything but the state-run primary set for next January," the 10 Democratic lawmakers led by U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson said in a joint statement issued today. "We strongly encourage all Democrats to vote for their preferred nominee in that primary, regardless of whatever penalties the DNC might enact."
"The vote is going to matter - period," the lawmakers said.
Florida's Democratic congressional delegation is comprised of Nelson and U.S. Reps. Allen Boyd Jr. of Monticello, Corrine Brown of Jacksonville, Kathy Castor of Tampa, Alcee Hastings of Miramar, Ron Klein of Boca Raton, Tim Mahoney of Palm Beach Gardens, Kendrick Meek of Miami, Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Weston and Robert Wexler of Boca Raton.
Their statement comes after holding a conference call yesterday, and three days after the DNC under Chairman Howard Dean voted to strip the state of its delegates to the national convention if the Florida Democratic Party refuses to hold a caucus on Feb. 5 or later, instead of a binding primary on Jan. 29. The primary date is set by a new law passed recently by the Florida Legislature and signed by Gov. Charlie Crist.
The congressional delegation members also said they intend to mount a legal challenge aimed at blocking the DNC from banning Florida delegates - if it comes to that. Nelson, who has spoken with DNC leadership about the Saturday decision, said today, "I hope we're going to be able to work this out. The easy solution is for a few other states to move their primaries up before Florida's."
The DNC still has four weeks in which it can change its directive regarding Florida's delegates, but has yet to signal any intention of doing so. "We hope that over the next few weeks, the DNC and its chairman will show a willingness to work with us to find an equitable solution that is acceptable to all," the lawmakers said.