Michigan won’t hold another state-run presidential primary.
That option was effectively ruled out yesterday when members of the Michigan Legislature left for a two-week recess without approving a proposal that would have scheduled a new state Democratic primary election for June 3.
State law requires that voters are given at least 60 days notice about an upcoming election, without legislative approval Michigan Democrats missed this window because June 10 is the last possible day to hold a primary according to Democratic National Committee rules.
The legislature remains divided on how best to seat the state’s delegates at the Democratic National Convention in August.
For another primary to take place, both the Clinton and Obama’s campaigns, the Michigan Democratic Party, the Democratic National Committee, Gov. Jennifer Granholm and the state legislature would have to agree on a proposal.
Alternative plans have included a mail-in caucus, a statewide caucus or an even split of the delegates between the two candidates.
Sen. Mike Bishop (R-Rochester) cited logistical concerns as the reasons behind the Senate’s hesitancy to pass a primary plan in a statement released yesterday.
“We need to acknowledge the reality that no progress is being made and without a valid and viable proposal, another primary in Michigan will soon not be an option,” he said. “I would therefore, respectfully suggest that the national Democratic Party, the state Democratic Party and the two Democratic presidential candidates provide an immediate proposal that the Michigan Legislature can work with or immediately consider a state party caucus to resolve their party differences and, whatever the case may be, let us get back to the business of this state government.”
Sen. Carl Levin, Rep. Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick, Democratic National Committee member Debbie Dingell and United Auto Workers president Ron Gettelfinger were part of a committee that originally introduced the primary proposal last week in a statement.
“We will continue to work with all interested parties to seek a way to ensure that Michigan’s delegates are seated at the Democratic National Convention,” the statement read. “We want to avoid a divisive fight at the Credentials Committee or on the Convention floor.”
Clinton has pushed for a new election in the form of a primary or caucus to seat Michigan’s delegates. Obama has been hesitant to such options, though, asking instead to split the delegates evenly at the convention.
Michigan lost its delegates after moving its primary before Feb. 5, in violation of the Democratic National Committee’s rules. Most of the Democratic candidates pledged to not campaign in Michigan and with the exception of Sen. Hillary Clinton, all of the top contenders – including Sen. Barack Obama – removed their names from the state’s ballot. Clinton went on to win the contest, garnering 55 percent of the vote, while 40 percent of voters cast their votes for “uncommitted,” meaning their votes wouldn’t be attached to any particular candidate.
LSA sophomore Sam Marvin, a Clinton supporter, said he thought Michigan’s delegates should be represented at the convention but wasn’t sure how it should work. Marvin, who is also a co-chair of the University group Student for Levin, said he doesn’t think a new election should be held after winter semester ends because many student voters will have left campus for the summer.
“I’d like to see a fair decision so that everyone’s vote is recognized,” he said.
LSA junior Daniel Villamarin, an Obama supporter and vice-chair of the University’s chapter of the College Democrats, echoed his candidate’s opinion, saying he supports splitting the delegates between Clinton and Obama.
He said he thought Clinton would most likely win another primary, and that he’s not sure of the fairest way to represent Michigan.
“The whole situation stinks and I don’t think there’s a right answer,” he said. “I’m just frustrated with the whole thing.”