Michigan Ups the Ante, Proposes a Do-Over Primary

Michigan’s top Democratic officials are close to reaching an agreement with the Clinton and Obama campaigns for a do-over primary. While facing a similar hurdle as Florida in getting a divided legislature to agree to the terms, it looks probable that a consensus could be reached by this Friday. Clinton advisers and Michigan officials concur that a primary would circumvent certain security issues that could arise from a mail-in revote.

Kathy Barks Hoffman from the AP, March 13, 2008:

Party officials and the campaigns negotiated on Thursday, and state Democratic leaders were hopeful that an agreement could be reached on Friday, said Democratic officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the talks. To go forward, any plan would require the approval of the two campaigns, the Democratic National Committee, state party leaders and Gov. Jennifer Granholm, who is backing Clinton.

Michigan Democrats need to act quickly because the politically divided legislature will have to sign off on the deal and approve how to spend the privately raised funds for a new election. Members of the Democratic-controlled state House and Republican-controlled state Senate leave at the end of the month on their two-week spring break.

The contest must be held by June 10 for the results to count under DNC rules. Michigan currently has an election set for May 6 for voters to decide on education issues. The date of that contest could be changed to accommodate a new presidential primary.

This development will certainly put pressure on the Florida Democrats, who recently had begun backtracking on their proposal for a mail-in revote. Part of Florida and Michigan’s political power is solidarity and any development from either side spells less influence on retaining their push to seat their current delegates.

Update by Nate

Video report from the Associated Press:

As it’s coming down, it looks like Michigan will most likely hold an entirely new primary while Florida may stop short and do some kind of mail-in thing if it happens at all.

Also, here’s another story on it from Yahoo! News, apparantly the target date might be June 3rd:

WASHINGTON – A Michigan congresswoman said Friday that the state’s Democrats are working on plans for a June 3 primary that would give them a say in the tight presidential nomination race between Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama.

Rep. Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick said the primary would be statewide and would be funded through party money. She is one of four Democrats who are not endorsing either candidate who are working together on a plan for a repeat primary.

Amid talks with both campaigns, the four Michigan Democrats said in a statement they were “focusing on the possibility of a state-run primary in early June which would not use any state funding.”

“This option would require the passage of legislation by the State Legislature, and we look forward to working with the members of the Legislature in the coming days to see if this option can be made a reality,” the Democrats said.

Technically there wasn’t any sort of legitimate primary in Michigan since Obama and Edwards were missing from the ballot. Therefore, a new primary is probably the only acceptable way to have a true contest.