Some Mich. Dems may not get to vote in 2nd primary
Clinton to campaign in Michigan
LANSING, Mich. Aides said the former first lady would make a hastily arranged appearance in Detroit on Wednesday to make the argument for going ahead despite the obstacles. Mo Elleithee, a spokesman, said Clinton would "make the case for counting the people of Michigan, that every vote must count and that Senator Obama is standing in the way of a revote, and that snubbing Michigan would hurt the Democratic party in November." Even before Clinton announced her travel plans, Obama's spokesman accused her of merely looking out for her own political interests. "As others in Michigan have pointed out, there are valid concerns about the proposal currently being discussed, including severe restrictions on voter eligibility and the reliance on private funding," said Obama spokesman Tommy Vietor. "We have raised these concerns, as legislators in Michigan did today, and we're waiting to see if these issues can be resolved by the Legislature." Michigan is one of two states that violated Democratic Party rules by holding primaries too early in the year. As punishment, the party stripped both states of their delegates to the national nominating convention. Plans for a revote in the other state, Florida, collapsed over the weekend, leaving the future of its delegation unclear. Originally, Michigan was to have 128 delegates; Florida's total was 185. Clinton trails Obama in convention delegates after primaries and caucuses in more than 40 states, and her chances of catching up are remote. Lopsided victories in second primaries in Florida and Michigan would help, and also would strengthen her argument that party leaders who attend the convention as superdelegates should consider a candidate's ability to win in the fall, rather than merely support the contender with the most delegates. She won the earlier primaries in both states, although all the candidates had pledged not to campaign in either, and Obama removed his name from the Michigan ballot. One of the sticking points holding up a possible do-over election in Michigan is a rule that would ban anyone who voted in the Republican presidential primary from voting again in the Democratic one. That ban would apply even to Democrats or independents who asked for a GOP ballot because Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton was the only major candidate left on the Jan. 15 Democratic ballot. To cast a ballot in a do-over election, voters would have to sign a statement saying they hadn't voted in the GOP primary. That could hurt Obama more, since his supporters were more likely than Clinton's to have crossed over to vote in the GOP primary. The national party punished Michigan for holding a primary before Feb. 5, stripping it of all its delegates and rendering the contest meaningless. Clinton was on the ballot, but Obama and other Democratic candidates removed their names to avoid angering early voting states such as Iowa and New Hampshire. Obama has had more success than Clinton attracting the votes of independents and Republicans in states where they could vote in Democratic contests. A group of Democratic leaders from Michigan is trying to set up a June 3 do-over primary so the state can get its delegates seated at the Democratic National Convention -- an event that looked less likely on Tuesday. Seventeen Democratic state House members said Tuesday they have concerns about holding another election, including disenfranchising Democrats who voted in the Republican primary. "These people that chose to vote in that Republican primary in January did so after being told by the DNC that the Democratic primary did not count. They weren't told that if they participated in a Republican primary they wouldn't be eligible to participate in a redo that was going to happen in June," said state Rep. Matt Gillard, an Obama supporter. U.S. Sen. Carl Levin and the three Democratic leaders trying to get the delegates seated planned to lobby their party's state legislators on Wednesday. Michigan's Republican primary drew 867,271 voters, including 18,106 who voted "uncommitted." The Democratic primary drew 593,837 voters. Clinton garnered 328,151 votes, or 55 percent, and 237,762 votes, or 40 percent, went to "uncommitted." Other candidates were in single digits. Michigan Democratic Chairman Mark Brewer says the party has the right -- and the responsibility -- to prevent non-Democrats from having a say in who becomes the party's nominee. Michigan doesn't require voters to register by party to vote, so the parties have to use other tools to stop crossover voting. Both parties are due to get a list of who voted in the Jan. 15 primary and which ballot -- Democratic or Republican -- they chose. It's unclear whether those lists would be used to challenge anyone who had voted in the GOP primary. Brewer said he's sorry some Democrats won't be able to vote again. "I regret that that might be the case, but it's a national party rule and we have no choice but to follow it," he said.
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