LANSING – Michigan Democrats are expected to decide today against holding a do-over presidential primary election, The Associated Press has learned.
The state party’s executive committee is expected to hold a meeting by phone to vote on a statement saying any kind of election to replace the results of the January 15 primary no longer is possible, according to Democratic leaders who spoke on condition of anonymity because the discussions so far have been private.
Michigan and Florida were stripped of their Democratic National Convention delegates for moving up their primaries.
Presidential hopeful Hillary Rodham Clinton supported holding a second election so the delegates could be seated, but rival Barack Obama feared problems.
State Democrats now hope the two campaigns can agree on a way to split Michigan’s 128 pledged delegates so they can be seated at the Aug. 25-28 convention in Denver, Colo. Michigan also has 28 superdelegates, elected officials and other top Democrats who don’t have to commit to any candidate before the convention.
Clinton won Michigan’s primary, but Obama and several others had withdrawn their names months before the election. Many Obama supporters voted for Uncommitted.
The state Democratic Party already has pushed back the date for choosing national convention delegates to April 19, hoping the matter can be resolved before delegates are chosen.
Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean and four top Michigan Democrats who have been trying to work out a way to get the delegates seated are expected to put out a statement today after the executive committee vote.
In the statement, they’re expected to say the DNC is committed to seating Michigan’s delegates at this summer’s convention as long as any agreement is supported by the party’s two presidential contenders.
The national party chairman issued a similar statement earlier this week after meeting with Florida Democratic leaders. He said then that he was “optimistic” that Michigan’s delegates would be seated.
Today’s vote will cap weeks of frenzied negotiations to find a way to hold a do-over Michigan election. There was talk last month of holding a June 3 primary run by the state and paid for by private Democratic donors. But Michigan lawmakers declined to take up a bill setting up that election.
Party officials then considered holding a party-run primary or mail-in election, which would have cost the party millions of dollars. But time is running out to hold the election before a June 10 deadline.
So now the decision on how to divide up the pledged delegates will move to the Clinton and Obama campaigns. The Obama campaign has called for splitting the delegates 50-50, regardless of Clinton’s Jan. 15 win. The Clinton campaign so far has rejected that idea.