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Dems stumped figuring Fla., Mich. into delegate equation Updated 43m ago | Comments

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By Fredreka Schouten, USA TODAY WASHINGTON — In the fight for the Democratic presidential nomination, the votes in Florida and Michigan didn't count when residents in those states went to the polls in January. Advertisement

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But now Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Facebook Obama are locked in a fierce battle for every possible convention delegate, prompting talk What's this? of a showdown at this summer's national convention and raising the specter of a divided party going into the November election. DELEGATE TRACKER: Who is in the lead?


By Chris Carlson, AP file

Presidential hopefuls Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, right, and Sen. Barack Obama, stand together before the start of a Democratic presidential debate in Los Angeles on Jan. 31.


"If there is true gridlock, the prospects are not good that we would have a positive convention," said Don Fowler, a former national party chairman and Clinton supporter. "This would be a train wreck." Obama is leading Clinton in popular votes and delegates. In Florida and Michigan, however, Clinton won more votes than Obama but no delegates were awarded because the Democratic National Committee (DNC) penalized the states for moving up their primaries. Candidates pledged not to campaign in either state, and Clinton was the only major candidate to keep her name on the Michigan ballot. FIND MORE STORIES IN: Democrats | Hillary Rodham Clinton | Sen. Barack Obama | Candidates | Delegate | DNC | Mich The DNC stripped Florida of its 210 delegates. Michigan lost 156. Clinton is now pressing to ensure that the Florida and Michigan delegates are seated when the party meets Aug. 25-28 in Denver. "We think that when you have millions of people voting in primaries, those voices and voters ought to be heard," Clinton spokesman Howard Wolfson said Thursday.

USA TODAY's interactive presidential poll tracker helps you dig into the polling trends nationwide and in major primary states.

Obama campaign officials said Clinton's move was a deliberate attempt to circumvent the rules. The Illinois senator "took a pledge with the DNC and he stuck to it," Obama spokesman Bill Burton said. "This is Clinton trying to retrospectively change the rules." Leading Democrats said they see no easy fix.

"There's still plenty of time for this to play out," said James Roosevelt, who co-chairs the DNC committees that set party rules and award credentials to delegates. In the Democratic Party, delegates are awarded proportionally, as long as a candidate has reached a 15% threshold of the vote. That means even a second-place finisher in a congressional district or state earns delegates. Obama has 1,276 delegates compared with 1,220 for Clinton, according to the latest count by the Associated Press. Clinton's number includes her victory, announced Thursday, in New Mexico caucuses held last week. The AP count also includes "super delegates," elected and party officials, whom the wire service has interviewed to get their preference in the race. Unlike delegates awarded by popular vote who are bound to support a particular candidate, super delegates are free to back whomever they choose at the national convention. Neither candidate is likely to emerge with the 2,025 delegates needed for the nomination just by winning the remaining 18 primaries and caucuses, said Anthony Corrado, a political scientist at Colby College. That's why super delegates are crucial.


Dems stumped figuring Fla., Mich. into delegate equation -

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There are 4,048 total delegates available, including delegates awarded proportionally through the popular vote and super delegates. Before Florida and Michigan were punished, a Democratic candidate would have needed 2,208 delegates out of 4,414 total to secure the nomination. As a result, campaigns have aggressively courted the nearly 800 super delegates who could break the logjam. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a super delegate by virtue of her seat in Congress, said Thursday it was not a role she relished. "Let's hope and pray ‌ that someone will emerge as a winner and be out in front far enough that the super delegates won't matter," she said. If the nomination were decided by either the super delegates or those from Michigan and Florida "all hell would break loose," particularly among black voters, said Ron Walters, a University of Maryland political scientist. Black Democrats have supported Obama by overwhelming margins in his bid to become the nation's first AfricanAmerican president. They could stay away from the polls in November in protest, said Walters, who helped manage Jesse Jackson's two presidential campaigns. "That would hand the presidency to the Republican," he said. The DNC has said it would allow Florida and Michigan to hold other contests, likely caucuses, that would comply with party rules. Top Democrats in both states have rejected that idea, including Michigan Sen. Carl Levin, who fought for the Jan. 15 primary. Karen Thurman, the party chairwoman in Florida, said a caucus — which requires voters to publicly declare their preference — excludes too many voters. A record 1.7 million Florida Democrats went to the polls in the Jan. 29 primary. "Until these remaining states play out, there isn't much that anyone can do," she said. "It's a difficult and tough situation," said Debbie Dingell, a DNC member in Michigan. "No one predicted that we would be where we are right now." Share this story: Digg



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Posted 11h 23m ago

Updated 43m ago

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Comments: (155) Mark Sanity wrote:


Newest first

1m ago

Integrity...which Obama seems to have, does NOT win elections. Cunning and skill seem to win. Recommend

Atlas Shrugged wrote:

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2m ago

Once again, the Clintons show their lack of class. There is nothing they are unwilling to do to win or stay in power. Bill Clinton embarrassed himself while in office and now he further embarrasses himself and degrades the office of the president in his futile attempt to acheive a postive legacy. I, and many others, take great delight in watching these two implode and hopefully disappear from our lives forever. Go Obama! Recommend

atomichawk wrote:

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3m ago

University of Cincinnati Poll has Obama gaining within Ohio. Hillary has to win texas Ohio and Penn byt almost 30% to stay even and it aint gonna happen Recommend

warmpuppy wrote:

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3m ago


Dems stumped figuring Fla., Mich. into delegate equation -

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atomichawk wrote: <1m ago hello warmpuppy good morning ==================== Good morning to you as well. Recommend

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gajfreeman wrote: 4m ago

larry444 wrote: 25m ago Are you sure you want to cite Wikipedia as a source? Plus we already have recall, referendum and initiative. Primaries...ah hell, we'll complain about any system we choose... Recommend

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Voidman wrote: 4m ago

President Bush had to endure two elections which the Democrats claimed were stolen. If she loses the nomination, will Hillary make the same claim about that? Recommend

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atomichawk wrote: 4m ago

hello warmpuppy good morning

Mark Sanity wrote: 4m ago

Sometimes I think the Dems could tear up an anvil...and that's not easy to do.


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