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  •   Mich. Democrats Back Plan for 2000 Caucus

    The Associated Press
    Sunday, May 9, 1999; Page A16

    SAGINAW, Mich., May 8 – Michigan's Democratic Party leaders unanimously adopted a new caucus plan today that challenges the traditional dominance of New Hampshire and Iowa in the presidential selection process.

    Both states have successfully fought off similar attempts by other states in the past, and party leaders have signaled their determination to do so again.

    Nonetheless, the Michigan Democratic State Central Committee voted in favor of conducting a Feb. 12, 2000, party caucus.

    Neither Iowa nor New Hampshire has set caucus or primary dates for 2000, but Iowa Democratic leaders have said they intend to match Republican plans for a Feb. 7 caucus. Iowa held its initial caucus meetings on Feb. 12 in 1996.

    New Hampshire law requires that the parties set their primary dates seven days before any other state primary. Democrats are not expected to set their date before September. The 1996 primary was on Feb. 20.

    Sen. Carl M. Levin (D-Mich.) has fought to have Michigan go ahead of Iowa and New Hampshire for years, but acknowledges that there could be a fight ahead.

    The Democratic National Committee traditionally preserved the status of Iowa and New Hampshire as, respectively, the first caucus and primary states.

    "It's not right that two states have such a huge impact on the way we pick a president. It's not right the candidates visit those states a huge number of times while other states get few visits," Levin said today.

    He said if the DNC does not approve Michigan's request to move up its caucus date, he will take his case to the party's national convention.

    © Copyright 1999 The Washington Post Company

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