Democratic National Chairman Paul G. Kirk Jr. is expected to name a former South Carolina party chairman to head the commission that will review delegate-selection rules for the 1988 presidential race, spurning the choice proposed by the Rev. Jesse L. Jackson, whose protests led to the commission's establishment.
Democratic sources said yesterday that Kirk has told them he will ask Donald L. Fowler, a veteran of party fights over nominating rules, to chair the 50-member "Fairness Commission."
Kirk also plans to ask three people to serve as vice chairmen: New Orleans Mayor Ernest Dutch Morial, Colorado state Sen. Polly Baca and Michigan Democratic Chairman Richard Wiener. Morial was a Jackson supporter in 1984.
Jackson had long advocated former Atlanta mayor Maynard Jackson for the chairmanship, claiming key Democratic leaders had agreed to that choice at last summer's Democratic National Convention. That claim is disputed.
Jesse Jackson could not be reached for comment.
Maynard Jackson said yesterday in a telephone interview that Kirk had asked him Tuesday to serve on the commission but not as chairman or a vice chairman. The former mayor said he has not decided whether to accept.
Kirk declined to comment on the appointments. Already, 40 members of the commission have been chosen in regional caucuses. Kirk is expected to select the remaining 10 before the Democratic National Committee meets here June 24-26.
DNC spokesman Terry Michael would neither confirm nor deny Kirk's selections. "The leadership and membership appointments are still in process," Michael said, "and we have no comment on names in this process."
Michael said that Jackson and Sen. Gary Hart (D-Colo.), who also complained about the nominating rules during his campaign last year, would be represented on the commission.
Michael said Kirk believes that "it would not be fair to the process to have a representative of either" as a commission officer.
Jackson argued repeatedly that the 1984 rules awarded him fewer delegates than he was entitled to based on the percentage of the vote he won in various contests.
Those procedures included "thresholds" that required a candidate to win at least 20 percent of the vote in a congressional district to qualify for delegates, as well as "winner-take-all" provisions in some states that permitted one candidate to capture all the delegates in a district, and party caucuses that chose some delegates, reducing popular participation.
Hart subsequently joined Jackson in some of those complaints.
In deference to the two, the convention voted to establish a commission to examine the rules and, if necessary, recommend changes for 1988.
Most of Jackson's influence on the commission would probably come from the 10 members appointed by Kirk. The other 40 were chosen from current DNC members. Jackson, an outsider in party politics, has little power on the DNC and apparently made little effort to influence selection of the 40.
Of the 40 already chosen, 10 are black, but fewer than half are considered Jackson loyalists. The 10 chosen by Kirk need not be DNC members.
Michael said that Kirk feels the leadership of the commission should reflect the fact that 80 percent of the commission's members are DNC members.
Fowler, Baca, Morial and Wiener are DNC members. Maynard Jackson is not.