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March 15, 2008
Democratic Party Fat Cats Demanding FL-MI Resolution
The behind the scene machinations of the national party and the respective campaigns of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton are reaching a fever pitch as Michigan is moving toward a June primary while Florida remains hopelessly deadlocked.
In addition, some of the party's biggest contributors are putting pressure on the DNC to resolve the matter:
Pushing to seat the Florida delegates, at least one top Clinton fund-raiser, Paul Cejas, a Miami businessman who has given the Democratic National Committee $63,500 since 2003, has demanded Democratic officials return his 2007 contribution of $28,500, which they have agreed to do. The Michigan revote plan is supported by the Clinton campaign while the Obama people are hanging back. It seems likely that some kind of revote will take place there as the Republicans in the state legislature have promised not to stand in the way of funding another primary if it becomes necessary.
“If you’re not going to count my vote, I’m not going to give you my money,” said Mr. Cejas, who was the United States ambassador to Belgium from 1998 to 2001.
Christopher Korge, a Florida real estate developer who is another top fund-raiser for Mrs. Clinton, held an event last year in his home that brought in about $140,000 for the national party, which was set aside in a special account for the general election battle in Florida. But he told committee officials this week that if Florida’s delegate conundrum was not settled satisfactorily he would be asking for the money back.
Meanwhile, Florida is, to put it mildly, a mess. Clinton and many Florida Democrats are adamant that the results of the January 29 primary stand. The Obama people are just as determined not to allow that to happen. The idea of a primary has been rejected by the state party. And the national party, led by Howard Dean, is not showing any leadership on the matter according to many.
No one knows how it will all turn out. The Michigan plan could fall through if the Obama people refuse to back it. If this happens, almost anything is possible including an old fashioned, blood on the floor fight at the convention.