By Michael D. Shear
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, December 2, 2007
Democratic National Committee members voted yesterday to strip Michigan of its delegates to next year's national convention, making it the second state to be punished so severely for holding a primary election earlier than the national party allows.
Leaders of both major political parties have tried to enforce a calendar in which only a few states are allowed to hold their voting early. But several states, including Michigan and Florida, have bucked those rules, hoping to gain more influence over the nominating process by voting when the race is still wide open.
In August, the Democratic National Committee responded by stripping Florida of its convention delegates after the state scheduled its primary for Jan. 29. Yesterday in Vienna, the DNC's rules and bylaws committee issued the same penalty to Michigan for its Jan. 15 primary date.
Its action means none of Michigan's 156 delegates will be allowed to participate when the Democratic party meets in Denver next summer to pick a presidential nominee.
All of the Democratic presidential candidates already promised the national party that they will not campaign in either Michigan or Florida, even though both states are particularly valuable prizes in the general election.
Party leaders in both states remain defiant, saying they will hold the primaries on their chosen dates and predicting that the media will treat the outcomes as significant even if there are no delegates at stake.
And some party leaders say the delegates from Michigan and Florida could end up attending the convention in the end. The rules of the convention allow the party's nominee to petition for reinstatement of the delegates, but whether the eventual nominee would want to wage a fight on behalf of Michigan and Florida against states that played by the rules, such as California and New York, is unclear.