Delegate Battles Embroil 2 States
By Michael Luo and John M. Broder
Democrats in Michigan and Florida struggled Friday to resolve the impasse over their disputed January primaries, coming up with a plan to hold a June primary in Michigan while remaining deadlocked in Florida.
Reflecting how tense the situation has become, influential fund-raisers for Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton have stepped up their behind-the-scenes pressure on national party leaders to resolve the matter, with some even threatening to withhold their donations to the Democratic National Committee unless it seats the delegates from the two states or holds new primaries there.
The committee penalized Michigan and Florida for holding their primaries early in violation of national party rules, barring their delegates from being seated at the Democratic convention this summer. But with the Democratic contest now a scramble for every remaining delegate, the allocation of delegates from the two states could have a substantial impact on the nomination.
Mrs. Clinton won the primaries in both states, but the contests were not sanctioned by the party, neither candidate campaigned in the states and Mr. Obama did not even put his name on the ballot in Michigan.
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.
“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.
“If we do not resolve this issue,” Mr. Korge said, “I think it’s safe to say there will be a request for a return of $140,000.”
That's just a drop in the bucket, but it does make me laugh!