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Category Archive for ‘FL-Dem’ at Campaign Diaries
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Archive for the 'FL-Dem' Category


Strict Standards: mktime(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 41

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After wild day, R & B committee seats Florida and Michigan… kind of

Who could have predicted that obscure intra-party rules would lead to such an entertaining political spectacle and cause such over-the-top protests and audience hissing? It took the DNC’s Rules & Bylaws Committee more than 9 hours to go through the dispute over Florida and Michigan before they voted to seat the entire delegations from both states, giving every delegate half-a-vote. As a result, Clinton nets 24 pledged delegates and the DNC hopes to have finally turned the page, but today’s decisions (particularly that regarding Michigan) is undoubtedly a blow to the Clinton campaign .

Early in the meeting, it became obvious that the committee was ready to embrace a compromise on the issue of Florida and cut the delegation’s power in half. Despite some tense back-and-forth, in particular when Rep. Wexler took the stand on behalf of Obama and Sen. Nelson on behalf of Clinton, the main issue appeared to be whether the delegation would be split in half before the allocation or whether all delegates would be seated and then granted half-a-vote.

This might seem a trivial dispute but the margin of delegate between the two candidates would be drastically different in the two cases, +19 for Clinton if the latter and +6 if the former. [This is due to the way in which delegates are allocated by district, something we have had ample opportunity to puzzle over in the past few months. For instance, in one of the 4 delegates districts in which Clinton netted 3 delegates and Obama 1, the post-punishment allocation would be 1.5-0.5 if every delegate is given half-a-vote. But if the split occurs as if the votes were not yet known, this district would only have 2 delegates and the two candidates would get one each.

The Obama campaign, being quasi-assured of the nomination, could afford to be generous. After all, its main preoccupation at this point is to avoid party disunity to move on to the general election. Through Wexler, it indicated that it would not oppose the model that would give Clinton a net margin of 19 delegates out of Florida, calling the move a “concession.” Harold Ickles was irked by the use of that word.

Naturally, the more complex question concerned Michigan’s delegation since only Clinton’s name appeared on the ballot and questions lingered as to whether it is appropriate to pretend that the 40% obtained by “uncommitted” was a vote for Obama. The discussion was tense and no consensus emerged, as the Obama campaign insisted that the delegation ought to be split equally between the two candidates and the Clinton campaign insisted that the full delegation ought to be seated without transferring uncommitted over to Obama. In his impassioned defense of Michigan, Senator Levin endorsed the proposal to allocate the delegation 69-59, mid-way between the January 15th vote and a tie (this compromise has been circulating for a while but not that it has no basis in the rules).

After a long lunch period which extended in private conversations between the committee members, two motions were put on the table and approved by the committee. The first, approved 27-0, sits Florida’s full delegation and gives each member (including superdelegates) half-a-vote. That gives Clinton a net gain of 19 out of Florida: 52.5 to 33.5 (it also gives 6.5 delegates to Edwards).

Then, the committee somewhat surprisingly approved a motion regarding Michigan, sitting a delegation made up of 69 Clinton delegates and 59 Obama delegates, each with half a vote. This gives Clinton a net gain of 5 delegates out of Michigan. The new magic number to reach a majority: 2,117 delegates.

The crowd was mostly subdued in the morning, occasionally applauding. But the Clinton supporters were very noisy in the evening session, as they booed and hissed the motions that did not grant the Clinton camp its full wish in either state. Even Clinton supporter Alice Hauffman was heckled for supporting the Florida motion. But it is during Michigan’s debate that the room became most chaotic, as the crowd was chanting “Denver, Denver, Denver!” implying that Hillary should go all the way to the convention to make her case.

On the floor, Clinton adviser and RBC member Harold Ickes was protesting, “I rise in opposition. I find it inexplicable that this body that is supposedly devoted to rules is going to fly in the face of other than for our affirmative action rules the single most fundamental rule in the delegate selection process, that is, fair reflection.” He later added, “Mrs. Clinton has reserved her right to take this to the credentials committee.” And in a strong statement, he declared that, “Hijacking 4 delegates is not a good way to start down the path of party unity.”

The day succeeded in resolving much of the issues on the table with the Florida and Michigan delegations, as it is now likely that most Democratic Party figures (including many high profile Clinton supporters like RBC member Dan Fowler) will consider this issue resolved. This means that the Obama campaign crossing the magic majority number (most everyone believe this will happen sometime next week) will be treated with more legitimacy than if the Michigan and Florida questions were still on the table.

But the Clinton campaign has laid the grounds to argue that they ought to continue their fight to the convention. First, there is the popular vote question as they will now argue that this decision legitimizes using the totals in FL and MI to calculate the popular vote results. The Obama campaign will then insist that the uncommitted votes be counted for Obama in Michigan, which would put their campaign ahead — though Clinton is hoping to reverse that if she gets a big win in Puerto Rico tomorrow.

Second, the Clinton campaign has not accepted the legitimacy of today’s resolution. Ickes’s complaints at the end of the meeting were meant to protest the allocation of the Michigan delegation. For the Clinton campaign, it is a travesty that the uncommitted delegates be granted to Obama when he willfully took his name off the ballot and that Clinton delegates be taken away on top of that. Somewhat surprisingly, the Clinton campaign seems to have renounced its objections to the delegations being given only half-a-vote as the vote on Florida’s motion was unanimous and as the Clinton campaign’s statement tonight declares victory on the Florida front — choosing to continue the battle only over Michigan:

The decision by the Rules and Bylaws Committee honors the votes that were cast by the people of Florida and allocates the delegates accordingly.

We strongly object to the Committee’s decision to undercut its own rules in seating Michigan’s delegates without reflecting the votes of the people of Michigan.

The Committee awarded to Senator Obama not only the delegates won by Uncommitted, but four of the delegates won by Senator Clinton. This decision violates the bedrock principles of our democracy and our Party.

We reserve the right to challenge this decision before the Credentials Committee and appeal for a fair allocation of Michigan’s delegates that actually reflect the votes as they were cast.

If the Clinton campaign intends to somehow stay in the game past next week and if the superdelegate tsunami does not overwhelm them, its new fight will be a quest to get the credentials committee to change the Michigan allocation (and apparently not to sit the full delegations in FL and MI?). But considering the way in which Dan Fowler distanced himself from Ickes today and considering that undeclared supers like Donna Brazile are barely containing their allegiance at this point, this would certainly be a very lonely fight for Clinton. As far as even some of her high profile supporters are concern
ed, the Democratic primary will be over next week.

Perhaps the most stunning spectacle today occurred outside of the meeting hall, as protesters were gathered on the street to register their complaints about the way the Michigan and Florida delegations were being treated. TNR’s Eve Fairbanks summarizes the scene of what she describes as an alternative dimension, in which one could see signs like “At least slaves were counted as 3/5ths a Citizen” and in which Larry Sinclair was welcomed as a hero for distributing tracts about Obama’s drug use and gay sex escapades… Inside the meeting, some cries of McCain were heard from the audience at the end of the meeting.

Yet, despite the signs of lingering hard feelings, the DNC took a big step towards turning the page of the delegate dispute and settling the Democratic nomination. Unless Clinton somehow manages to prevent Obama from surpassing 2,117 delegates by next week, it is difficult to see her staying in the race. By mostly removing Florida and Michigan from the realm of the contestable, the RBC meeting took a big step towards launching the general election.


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Rules and Bylaws Committee: One more attempt to resolve FL and MI

On May 31st, the DNC’s Rules and Bylaws Committee meets to address challenges to its treatment of Florida and Michigan’s delegations and discuss possible resolutions. Such questions will soon be referred to the convention’s credential committee, and it was widely expected that the DNC would simply refer any decision to that not-yet-operational committee. Instead, the RBC accepted to listen to Florida and Michigan’s petitions. On Saturday morning, the RBC will listen both the state parties and those who brought the challenge forward (Senator Levin, who has long fought the primary calendar, will speak on Michigan’s behalf); the two campaigns will also present their demands and their positions.

The two questions that need to be addressed are: First, should Florida and Michigan superdelegates be seated independently of what is decided about the pledged delegation? Second, what shall be done with the pledged delegates and how much weight should be given to the January 15th and January 29th votes?

The Clinton campaign has a lot riding on this meeting. Not only do they need to score a big net gain of delegates to keep the race close enough that they survive the first week of June but they want to legitimize their efforts to count Florida and Michigan in the popular vote. The campaign insists they are ahead in the popular vote counting the FL and MI results, and it will be more difficult for the Obama campaign to retort that totals from these two states should not be counted if they agree to allocate some delegates based on their results at the RBC.

Both candidates have their supporters on the committee which makes it virtually impossible that Clinton would get her full wish: That both delegations be fully seated, be given full voting rights and that they be allocated according to the January votes. The Obama campaign — whose position right now is to split the delegations equally — has signaled its willingness to meet “halfway,” which could mean granting Hillary half of the pledged delegate leads she earned in January. Today, Clinton’s options were reduced further and Obama’s position was strengthened when the Democratic Party’s lawyers issued a legal memo explaining the DNC could not fully seat the delegations and that it had to settle for reducing its voting rights by half — which is roughly the punishment the RNC imposed on Florida and Michigan, though that did not prevent McCain from sealing his nomination in the Sunshine state.

Note that even if Clinton did get her full wish granted it would leave her far from her rival, and far from the nomination. That is why I wrote that Clinton is trying to keep it close enough to survive the first week of June rather than overtake Obama’s lead. If she had gotten the DNC to recognize some delegations back in January or February, she would have kept closer contact with Obama and might not have spent the next 4 months on the defensive, having to justify why she is staying in and defend her turf. That obviously did not happen, and Clinton is now simply trying to prolong the game.

Obama is very close to 2,026 right now and they are looking to secure enough superdelegates in the days following June 3rd to surpass that number. Having hundreds of new delegates thrown in the game as well as more uncommitted superdelegates will raise the number needed to secure the nomination, giving Clinton hope of keeping the nomination fight alone past the endorsement wave that will likely follow June 3rd and strengthening her VP claims.

In the midst of this showdown between the Obama and Clinton machines, it is important to remember that the DNC has a very different set of concerns: How to balance the need to represent Michigan and Florida at the convention with the fact that they broke the rules? The Democratic world is worried that, if Florida and Michigan’s delegations are recognized, there will be no way to keep any order in the primary calendar and no incentive for states to recognize the rules. Even an RNC-style half-punishment could no be enough, given how important FL and MI were in the GOP nomination fight.

Update: Florida Democrats were hoping to force the DNC to seat their delegates by going through the courts, but a Florida judge just tossed out the lawsuit saying that parties have the right to make their own rules.


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Clinton tries to revive Florida and Michigan debate

To counter the superdelegate flight and convince those who are uncommitted that she is fighting a worthy cause, the Clinton campaign is doing its best to revive the question of Florida and Michigan’s delegates. Indeed, despite the fact that the DNC has shown some unexpected signs that it is willing to be more lenient than it has been up to now, there is still no resolution to the “rogue state” problem.

It became evident a few weeks ago that neither state would hold a re-vote, in what was a huge blow to Clinton’s hopes of building momentum meaningful enough to change the dynamics of the race. Since then, Florida and Michigan have mostly disappeared from the national conversation, to the great chagrin of the Clintonites who believe this is one of their most powerful argument to question the legitimacy of Obama’s lead when appealing to superdelegates.

Today, Maggie Williams, Clinton’s campaign manager, sent an email to Hillary’s online list; she emphasized Clinton’s determination to allow every voter to cast a ballot, a principle that can apply to the 10 upcoming primaries (to fight pressures to drop out) as well as to Florida and Michigan’s delegates:

Please take the time to listen, as I have, to the voices of our fellow citizens in Michigan and Florida… Tens of thousands of people in Michigan, Florida, and all over the country are standing up and speaking out, urging that we live up to our democratic ideals. In our hearts we know that voters everywhere deserve the chance to make their voices heard.

I know you will join with Americans everywhere who are proudly standing with their fellow citizens in making sure the great states of Michigan and Florida have a voice in this race — along with all the states who will cast their ballots in the upcoming months. Today is the day to step forward for democracy.

Nowhere in the email does Williams propose a solution to the FL and MI mess, however. She does not state the campaign’s demands for how delegates should be counted and which should be seated. This reflects this issue’s latest reality: Revotes are simply not going to happen due to time constraints, the Obama campaign will never agree to sit the delegations based on the January 15th and January 29th results if the race remains at all competitive and it is tremendously unlikely that Clinton would have control of the credentials committee.

There are a few possible solutions that the state parties are working on that could result in a few delegates gain for Clinton but her campaign knows there is very little it can practically gain from this — and certainly no momentum or electoral argument. But pursuing the argument over Florida and Michigan is crucial to present Clinton’s case as legitimate and to give Hillary a chance to appeal to superdelegates using the popular vote measure.

New Jersey’s Governor Corzine, a fierce Clinton supporter, stunned the political world last week by announcing he might vote for Obama at the convention if the Illinois Senator wins the popular vote. But this statement, which was widely described as the first step towards betraying Hillary, seemed to be a very shrewd move on behalf of the Clinton campaign. If Clinton manages to stay in until June 3rd, there will be surely be at least one way of calculating the popular vote (include both FL and MI, exclude caucuses because exact votes) that will result in showing Hillary ahead; if Clinton does not flame out in the upcoming contest you can be sure that it she will find a way to spin the popular vote argument. And that’s exactly what Corzine implied when he was asked this week-end whether his earlier comment should be interpreted as a slap to Clinton. Corzine’s answer brought up… Florida and Michigan and the need to include them in the tally.

What the campaign wants now, therefore, is to move the goalposts and convince superdelegates that the popular vote measure is more important than the pledge delegate leader. Now, superdelegates will see that Corzine is being reported as taking the logic far enough to consider voting for Obama, and the Clinton campaign hopes that small moves like this will make its attempt at moving the goalposts more convincing than they have been for now.


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What can be done about Michigan and Florida?

Confusion continues to surround the do-over primaries. Today, Michigan followed Florida’s lead in nixing the possibility of a revote after the state Senate adjourned without taking up a bill setting up this primary. The House now enters spring recess and reconvenes only in two weeks. That will be too late for the legislature to agree to a revote plan, because the state would then not have enough time to organize a whole new election by June 3rd.

There were many issues in Michigan’s plan, first and foremost whether Democrats who had participated in the GOP primary on January 15th (thinking that the Democratic contest did not matter) would be allowed to vote on June 3rd. The Obama campaign zoned in on this problem, especially since the financial question was getting resolved by Governor Corzine and Governor Rendell’s pledge to fund a new primary.

The Clinton campaign has already started to try and pit the blame of this failure on Obama, hoping to get the moral high ground on this issue to boost its chances of getting a somewhat favorable resolution. Obama knows that he can only go so far in opposing efforts to seat Michigan and Florida’s delegates without endangering his own position in those states in the general election.

Now, the question is what will be done about Michigan and Florida: Will any solution (besides a revote) be found to include these states in the nomination process? A possible deal was circulating last week that would cut Florida’s delegation in half and seat them according to January 29th, and would just split the Michigan delegation 50-50 (which isn’t really including that state in the process). Today, two Florida state Senators are proposing the following deal for their state’s delegation:

  • Half of the delegation will be allocated according to the January 29th results, which would result in a net gain of 19 delegates for Clinton.
  • The other half of the delegation would be determined by whatever method the two campaigns can agree on, including (via Ambinder), “an even split, a split reflecting the national popular vote, a split reflecting the national earned delegate count.”

But here it is very important to remember that a solution cannot just be agreed upon by the Clinton and Obama campaigns and then applied at the convention. The DNC has excluded Florida and Michigan’s delegates, and only the DNC can reverse itself and seat the delegates. More precisely, any such decision is in the hands of the credentials committee which won’t meet until July… so any decision to seat at least a part of the FL and MI delegates based on January voting or based on national splits would have to wait July.

And don’t expect DNC members to just accept whatever compromise is presented to them, even if both campaigns agree on it. The Boston Globe asked James Roosevelt, the powerful co-chairman of the Rules and Bylaws Committee whether FL and MI delegates could be seated without a new vote being held, to which Roosevelt responded: “As long as it could affect the outcome, [there's] no chance of that.” Roosevelt, who is neutral in the nomination fight, presented this as a matter of elementary fairness and respect for rules. “If there is simply a caving on this, we’ll end up with primaries on Halloween.” And clearly no one wants that.

Another decision the DNC will have to take (and it might resolve this issue much earlier than July) is whether superdelegates from Florida and Michigan can vote at the convention. Right now, all the delegates of both states (including supers) have been thrown out of the Denver plans, but it is unclear whether the DNC’s Rules committee has the authority to take away a superdelegates’ right to vote on the nominee or whether the Democratic Party’s status guarantees that right. Clinton has an advantage among Florida superdelegates, so reestablishing their participation could at least provide her with some boost.


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The risk of not holding re-votes in Michigan and Florida

Two days after Florida nixed its plans to hold a do-over primary, Michigan appears close to doing the same, as even some of the state’s Clinton supporters are admitting. It appeared just a few days ago that a June 3rd contest was probable, but there have been too many objections raised since then — whether the vote can be organized, whether people who have voted in January 15th GOP primary [that saw a third of cross-over Democrats] could vote on June 3rd, who would pay — for the Michigan legislature to have much hope of resolving them by their recess on Friday.

Obama never explicitly rejected the primary but most of these objections were raised by his campaign and by its Michigan co-manager Hunter; seeking to delay the decision and keep up a crowd of uncertainty, Obama appears close to his goal to avoid potentially dangerous revotes in the beginning of June. With Clinton on the upswing in Pennsylvania and hoping to ride momentum throughout May, it would have been very difficult for Obama to convince superdelegates if he had lost a string of contests including the final two in Florida and Michigan.

Now, Clinton is trying to force the hand of both the Michigan legislature and of the Obama campaign by … holding today’s first meeting in Detroit! This is meant to simultaneously pressure the Michigan legislature into taking action and to force the Obama campaign to openly oppose a revote plan rather than retreat in the objection-raising position they are in now. For remember that, whether or not we think that the FL and MI votes were unfair and should not count at the convention, Clinton had nothing to do with pushing those votes forward and she is justifiably frustrated that two states in which the demographics favor her will have no role to play in the nomination process.

If the Michigan revote is indeed nixed, the question will be whether any plan can be agreed to that would still allow for some delegates to be seated. There was a plan circulating last week that would seat Michigan 50-50 and Florida based on the January vote but giving delegates only half a vote — though this does not give Michigan any voice in the process. And Barack Obama better find a way to make Florida and Michigan count in some way, for the more-than-ever probable nominee could pay dearly come the general election if the two states’ Democrats are left angry by the process.

A new poll shows that a plurality of Florida Democrats want the January 29th to count and, more importantly, a full quarter of respondents (and these are Democrats) said they would be less likely to support the Democratic nominee in the fall if the Sunshine State is not included in the nomination process. And whether there is a direct linkage or not, PPP’s new general election survey of Florida looks quite terrible for Democrats and the confusion in which the state’s party is in right now can’t be improving things:

  • McCain leads Hillary Clinton 47% to 44% but he crushes Obama 50% to 39%.

The difference is due to Obama significantly underperforming among his party’s base: He trails by 9% among women (Clinton leads by 8%), and he only gets 60% of Democrats (Clinton gets 74%), the latter number a truly weak number. And those Democrats are saying they are McCain supporters (25% in a match-up against Obama) rather than going in the undecided camp. Among Hispanics, Clinton is tied with McCain at 47% while Obama trails by 11%. Clinton has her own problems as 51% of African-American are supporting her, though the rest is pronouncing itself “undecided” (35%) rather than McCain (13%).


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In blow to Clinton, there will be no Florida revote

For once, Florida chaos did not drag on endlessly as the state’s Democratic Party put a surprising end to the re-vote saga by deciding to hold no do-over primary. The party chair Karen Thurman released a statement announcing this unexpected move, and here are some excerpts:

We spent the weekend reviewing your messages, and while your reasons vary widely, the consensus is clear: Florida doesn’t want to vote again.

So we won’t…

This doesn’t mean that Democrats are giving up on Florida voters. It means that a solution will have to come from the DNC Rules & Bylaws Committee, which is scheduled to meet again in April.

Thurman is transferring the pressure to find a resolution to the crisis to the DNC. This means that the state party is still determined to push to gets its delegates seated even without a new vote. We already know that this Committee will decide nothing in April and that the matter will be postponed to the summer. But we can already say that the Florida delegates cannot be seated if the Obama campaign does not want them to be, and if Clinton unexpectedly has the votes to impose her will, it probably means she has the votes to win the nomination.

This is thus first and foremost a crushing blow to Hillary’s chances. (1) To catch up with Obama and his impressive delegate lead, she needs as large a reservoir of uncommitted delegates as possible, and there simply is not enough in the upcoming states to allow her to significantly cut into his lead — which is why she was hoping that Florida and Michigan would be added to the mix. (2) This also takes away Clinton’s hope of building momentum into the summer. Without Florida (and perhaps without Michigan), whatever momentum she rides will come out of April 22nd and May 6th, with a series of smaller states in the subsequent weeks. Not the most ideal calendar to get your groove back. (3) Perhaps most importantly, this makes it very difficult for Clinton to win the popular vote — which she was hoping to be able to do if she won Pennsylvania on April 22nd and re-votes in Michigan and Florida. This would have allowed her to make a much stronger appeal to superdelegates.

Given the demographics of Florida and Michigan, Clinton would have been favored in both no matter when they had voted. Thus, this nomination fight in 48 states is automatically more favorable to Obama than a nomination fight in all 50 states — though this ended being a factor that neither candidate had any control over (contrary to what many people seem to believe at this point, Clinton was not trying to sabotage herself and push Florida forward).

Imagine how much more favorable the situation would have looked for Clinton on the morning of February 6th if Florida had voted for Clinton on Super Tuesday rather than on January 29th. She would perhaps not have won by as much, but as long as the two candidates electoral coalitions had behaved with the remarkable stability they have displayed in almost every state, she would have emerged victorious — coupled with victories in the day’s other biggest states.

Democrats — and Obama who is as likely as ever to be the party’s nominee — must realize that they are shooting themselves in the foot with the MI + FL mess. If Florida’s delegates are not seated, the GOP will make it a major issue in the fall. Governor Crist will say that he offered to assist in finding a compromise, and John McCain will point out that Democrats have left the Sunshine State out of their process, thereby putting the Democratic Party in the defensive. Obama cannot afford that in a state that has been trending away from Democrats since the 2000 recount.

One solution that will be advocated now is a 50-50 split in the state’s delegates. Clinton will naturally oppose this given that this will get her absolutely nowhere in her fight to catch up with her rival. And frankly will such a resolution make it look like the will of Florida voters was taken into account? If Obama is confident that he has the delegates to win the nomination by the time the last states are voting (a still-plausible scenario), he should consider accepting Florida’s requests to seat the state’s delegates based on the January 29th vote — or at least seat them with a half-vote each. Given his current lead, even this solution would not change that much to the fundamentals of the race.


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Michigan and Florida do-overs still up in the air

It was first Florida that appeared close to a deal to organize a repeat primary via mail-in, before the realization that that procedure was too hard to implement in such a short amount of time sank that scenario. Next, Michigan looked set over a June 3rd state-run primary that would not be paid by the state — but the situation is more stuck than ever 3 days after that deal was crafted.

The Michigan legislature, which has to approve any such plan, is convening and could take up a bill putting in place this do-over primary as early as tomorrow. But the legislature’s leadership is saying that they will not pass any plan unless both the Obama and Clinton campaigns explicitly agree to it first, and this is precisely what the Obama campaign is not doing. For a while it looked like Obama would not openly sabotage do-overs, aware of how that might play in crucial swing states like FL and MI. But his Michigan campaign co-manager, State Sen. Tupac Hunter, is now seeking to delay any plan being implemented by opposing its finances. He does not want to see a bill passed…

…with a promise from governors who are Clinton supporters that they’ll raise the money at some point and meanwhile Michigan taxpayers have to put the money out first. The money has to be in the treasury first. That’s just fiscally prudent.

Hunter — and by extension the Obama campaign — must know that there is no time to raise the $10 million necessary for the Michigan primary to be implemented by the time this bill would have to pass. State officials told the press last week that the ball had to start rolling by Friday for the state to have time to prepare for a primary. In other words, the Michigan do-over is very much in danger at the moment… Not to say anything of the as-muddled Florida situation.

If anything, last week’s Wright controversy might have signaled to Obama that they had to push for as quick an end to primary season as possible. Not that Clinton has anything to do with that scandal (many people accuse her of throwing the kitchen sink but it is noteworthy that she always stayed clear of some of what could have been the most damaging to her rival), but the GOP has started to organize its onslaught against Obama who must organize his response and defense. Seeing major primaries in some of the country’s biggest states in early June would not allow Obama to concentrate on McCain any time soon… though blocking the way towards do-overs could hurt him in the general election in those two crucial states. Quite a dilemma.

Complicating matters in Florida is a federal Atlanta appeals court that agreed to hear a case brought forward by a Tampa resident and former Edwards supporter; the case seeks to force the DNC to seat all of Florida’s delegates. It is unlikely that the court will agree to do so, but the fact that it has agreed to hear the case should worry the supporters of the DNC’s (and Obama’s) position.


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Confusion spreads around Florida and Michigan

The more Democrats are seeking to find a solution to allowing Florida and Michigan, the more confusing the situation is starting to look. And just as a consensus was forming about a mail-in re-vote, new developments have made that option now very unlikely — and with it the possibility of any do-over!

The state of Florida intervened today, with state officials saying that there is no governmental authority that can verify signatures and the identity of voters in a primary election conducted over mail.

Particularly frustrating to proponents of a do-over is that this was revealed just hours after the state Democratic Party released a draft of a new voting plan that went as far as to propose a date (June 3rd) for this election. But with no mechanism to verify signatures and thus to prevent voter fraud, all of the actors in this controversy intervened to signal the probable death of the mail-in scenario, leaving Florida with no back-up option for now. And this scenario already had many critics before this, including all of Florida’s House representatives.

Unwilling to help FL and MI find a solution, the DNC better recognize that they have to find a way to seat Florida and Michigan’s delegate or risk a backlash in the polls in November… to McCain’s benefit. Most polls are showing McCain leading or very competitive in Michigan, to say nothing of Florida, and the Florida Democratic Party cited a poll today that said that more that a significant number of Democratic voters in the state would not stand by their party in the general election if they don’t get their vote for the Democratic nomination counted.

These latest developments are thus in no way a win for Barack Obama. Insofar as the primary is concerned, no re-vote and the January votes not counting is certainly the ideal scenario… but it would be disastrous in the general election. What is the back-up plan, then? There is now talk of a plan that is being discussed that would sit the delegates without a revote:

  • Michigan’s delegates would be seated… but split 50-50 (78 for each candidate).
  • The Florida delegates would be allocated according to the January 29th vote, but they would only have half a vote each… which means that Clinton would derive a 19-delegate (rather than 38) edge.
  • The superdelegates from both states would also be reinstated, which should be good news for Clinton who has more support, especially in Florida.

The Clinton campaign is said to be ready to agree to such a plan, with Obama having to decide whether he would also agree (no plan would be implemented, it looks like, without the support both campaigns). But it is very puzzling as to why Clinton would be so eager to endorse this and Obama so reluctant this proposal, which is as good a plan as Obama can hope for! Here’s why:

First, Clinton only getting 19 delegate more out of Florida and Michigan would be a great result for the Obama campaign, as it is less than the Clinton campaign could hope to get in do-over and (more importantly) much less that what the Clinton campaign needs to get to cut in Obama’s pledged delegate margin in any meaningful way.

Second, the Clinton campaign would be deprived of the opportunity to contest two big states in early June and — in case they win for a second time — to argue once again that Obama has a problem with large states that Democrats need to win. It is undeniable that if Clinton gets two solid victories in Michigan and Florida at the end of the primary process, they will go into the summer with big momentum and more proof that they own the most important states — and that would complicate Obama’s efforts to secure the nomination, whatever his pledged delegate lead.

But the third concern about this compromise plan should worry Democrats: How can they tell Michigan that they got to have their say in the Democratic primary if the state’s delegates are just slit 50-50? If McCain decides to use this issue to blast his opponent in Michigan in the fall, Democrats will have nothing to respond.


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Obama campaign puts obstacles on path to revotes

It is a sign of how favored the Obama campaign is that they are now willing to openly throw hurdles to the organization of do-over votes in Florida and Michigan. I wrote this morning that Obama cannot afford to openly sabotage those given the risk to his general election campaign and the opening it could give Clinton to appeal to superdelegates; but I added that, “Obama will certainly not do too much to help the re-dos get organized… and he can’t be too unhappy about this latest roadblock.”

Now, it looks like Obama might be more active in confusing the situation than I had thought he would be. Tupac Hunter, his Michigan campaign co-chair, was quoted today as saying that “The Obama campaign position, as I stated, is we don’t like the mail-in option.” He also insisted that the campaign wants a 50-50 split in delegates from both states. In the Detroit News he explained in more detail why the campaign doesn’t like mail-in votes “one bit: “It disenfranchises people who need to participate and there are many questions with regard to security.” The same article quotes David Axelrod worrying that there isn’t enough time for a mail-in to go well: “We’re going to turn this process over to parties within the states to run on with a matter of weeks to prepare.”

TPM is now quoting an Obama spokesperson who is backtracking a bit and saying that Hunter does not represent the position of the campaign on this one, and that they will abide by whatever the rules say. And let me note that a mail-in vote does probably pose significant challenges and it will probably see a lesser turnout than a normal primary would. Also, the Clinton campaign would likely prefer a full vote rather than a mail-in given that the demographics vote that would participate in the latter would probably be more favorable to Obama. But Clinton is not the one making this argument, probably realizing that mail-in might be one of the best options she has at this point to open up the pool of delegates of FL and MI, whereas Obama has no qualms about starting to question the legitimacy of the votes and creating more confusion around them.

And another surprising obstacle on the way to re-votes, via Marc Ambinder. The Justice Department might have to approve any new primary plans in Florida and Michigan. Some counties in both states are under DoJ supervision to make sure their voting rules do not disenfranchise minorities. Not only would this require time, but imagine the chaos if some denounce mail-in as unfair because it disenfranchises certain groups and create uneven turnout patterns and if the authority that clears the primary as fair is Bush’s Department of Justice that has attracted so many complaints from civil-rights groups over the past few years. Ultimately, Obama would love anything like this that could cast a doubt on the legitimacy of do-overs.


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Indecision over re-do votes continues

We’re finally there. We have reached the six-week lull!

When I first took a look at the primary calendar on the morning of February 6th, the first thing I noticed was the shocking gap between March 11th and April 22nd. In a primary season with an Election Night pretty much every week — sometimes even two or three — how are we going to survive 42 days with no contest?

But survive we must, and as a consolation think that we might soon have two new contests added to the calendar, as the debate over Florida and Michigan re-votes continues. The situation is as confusing as ever. A consensus seemed to be building in favor of a mail-in primary, in which ballots would be mailed to voters across the state who would then have to mail them back. This could also alleviate the money problem, as organizing a mail-in primary would cost less than a regular contest with polling places.

But the Florida Democratic House delegation just undermined whatever thin consensus there was yesterday with a joint statement:

We are committed to working with the DNC, the Florida State Democratic party, our Democratic leaders in Florida, and our two candidates to reach an expedited solution that ensures our 210 delegates are seated. Our House delegation is opposed to a mail-in campaign or any redo of any kind.

The possibility that Florida and Michigan’s delegates get seated based on the January votes is getting more unlikely by the day — so the position of the Florida delegation is too stubborn this late in the game. The DNC is showing no sign that it will entertain more complaints from the “rogue states,” and even prominent supporters of the early date (Senators Nelson of FL and Levin of MI) are coming around to supporting a do-over.

What complicates the do-over calculations is the differing interests of the two campaigns: The Obama campaign will not take the risk of opposing a do-over entirely, since its position would seem to self-interested on an issue in which most people agree that if Florida and Michigan agree to change their rules they should be allowed another chance. And if the Obama campaign is seen as actively preventing MI and FL from counting it could be terrible for his chances in the fall in both states, both key swing states.

However, Obama will certainly not do too much to help the re-dos get organized… and he can’t be too unhappy about this latest roadblock. On the other hand, the Clinton campaign needs to have a chance at getting some of the Florida and Michigan delegates if it wants to catch up Obama’s pledged delegates. There simply aren’t enough delegates on the table left for her to have a realistic chance of doing so without the rogue states revoting.

Naturally, Clinton is taking a risk in pushing for revotes. She won both states decisively, and while Obama’s name was not on the ballot in Michigan, Clinton did get a majority (55%). If Obama wins either of these states in late May-early June, it could give him a huge boost of momentum and seal his nomination — and it would make it very difficult for Clinton to argue that she wins all the big states.

On the other hand, two big Clinton wins late in the game (the votes would probably not be counted before June, so perhaps after all other contests) could bolster her case to superdelegates even if she doesn’t quite catch up with Obama pledged delegate-wise. Overall, Clinton has much more to gain from the revotes than Obama does for the simple reason that she needs them (she really does) and he does not. And that asymmetry could be enough to prevent revotes.


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Friday polls: Diverging margins in Mississippi, and the state of do-over primaries

The Democratic candidates are preparing for two more contests in the next few days — Wyoming and Mississippi — on which there has been no public polling. Until today, that is. Two polls were released of the Mississippi primary, which is expected to go heavily for Obama. The share of the African-American population in this primary could be higher than in any other contest’s — but these polls suggest that the higher a state’s black population the more whites vote for Clinton. We had witnessed this racial polarization in South Carolina and Georgia, and now here it is in Mississippi:

  • ARG shows Obama leading 58% to 34%, a very large margin that hides big disparities: Clinton wins white voters 61% to 22%, while Obama carries African American voters 87% to 11%.
  • Insider Advantage — which has had a very good track record in most states it has polled, and which picked up Clinton’s Texas rise first — shows Obama up only 46% to 40%. Now, IA itself acknowledges that Obama’s margin is likely higher because a full 20% of black voters tested in this poll are undecided, putting Obama at 66% — he will almost certainly be much higher on Tuesday. But IA also shows Clinton winning an astonishing 71.8% of the white vote.
  • Another very strange result in which both polls are consistent is that Clinton does better among men than among women, which suggests that Mississippi white men are not willing to back a black candidate…

If this level of racial polarization holds on Tuesday, it would provoke some very strange delegate distribution scenarios, as Clinton and Obama would both be close to being shut out in different parts of the state depending on the racial make-up of different districts.

Meanwhile, Rasmussen came out with two very interesting polls today from Florida and Michigan, testing the two candidates in possible do-overs. The results are very different:

  • In Michigan, Clinton and Obama tie at 41%. In January, Clinton had gotten 55% of the vote without any opposition.
  • In Florida, Clinton gets 55% to Obama’s 39%, which is a healthy lead. On January 29th, Clinton had beaten Obama 50% to 30%.

It goes without saying that Clinton is likely a few points below Obama in a Michigan caucus if she can only tie him in a primary, so that poll is not a good sign for the Clinton campaign. One of their most important arguments is Obama’s inability to win the largest states, and an Obama win in Michigan — particularly after Clinton broke 50% on January 15th — would make it much more difficult for Clinton to put forward her big state edge.

Another interesting poll this morning — also from Rasmussen — tests the South Dakota presidential race:

  • McCain beats Clinton 50% to 38%, and beat Obama 48% to 38%.
  • Yesterday’s SUSA poll of South Dakota had McCain up Obama by 4% and up Clinton by 12% as well.

A very Republican state that Bush won by overwhelming margins, South Dakota is much closer than anyone would expect in both of these polls.While it is very unlikely that either Democrat will end up within single-digits in South Dakota (and if they have a chance of winning here it probably means that they are on their way to routing McCain). But it does coincidence with a lot of evidence that the Mountain states — usually among the most reliable for Republicans — are flirting with Democrats this time around. SUSA showed Obama with a narrow lead in North Dakota and taking some electoral votes in Nebraska.

Finally, we have a few polls from congressional races:

  • Rasmussen accompanies its presidential poll with a Senate survey (it’s actually the other way around), and it confirms that Democratic Senator Johnson has very little to fear next year. He crushes both his (declared and potential) Republican opponents by significant margins and gets 62% and 63%.
  • Meanwhile, Michigan pollster EPIC releases a survey from MI-07, where Democrats are confident they can get freshman Rep. Walberg in trouble. The poll shows Walberg leading Democrat Schauer 51% to 40%, but after a biography of both candidates is read the Democratic candidate edges out Walberg 49% to 48%.

Polls with biographies are obviously very shady, since no candidate gets to define himself in a vacuum, and no House candidate can possibly introduce himself to 100% of voters (not even close). The poll does show a baseline vulnerability for Walberg, but he does get above 50% in the first match-up, and that should reassure him a bit. But given the financial advantage the DCCC has over its counterpart this cycle, they are sure to test incumbents like Walberg and unless the RNCC can step in to help he is likely to see his numbers drop in the coming months.


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Calendar watch: Michigan and Puerto Rico

With most primary contests already over, it is incredible that we are still talking about the voting calendar and changing rules. In fact, with Florida and Michigan’s fate still in suspense, much of the political chatter in the coming weeks will likely be devoted to process questions and to the quest of a fair solution to the “rogue state” problem.

Florida and Michigan’s governors were pushing the DNC yesterday to seat the January delegates, but that is looking to be an unlikely scenario and all interested parties appear to slowly be readying themselves with do-over votes. But questions remain: (1) Who will fund? (2) Primary or caucus? The two questions are obviously related, and the DNC is refusing to spend money on re-votes to help state parties that it holds broke rules in full awareness of what they were doing. Howard Dean told Florida Senator Nelson today that he would not pay for any make-over caucus or primary (to be fair, the DNC doesn’t have that much money in the bank, and is already trailing the RNC’s fundraising).

The New Republican broke the news last night that the Michigan Democratic Party was strongly leaning towards calling new caucuses — which was the party’s original plan before some Democrats pushed for an early primary. This would create a fierce competition and the most important caucuses of the year. It would also raise the number of delegates each campaign has to amass to get the nomination, and offer Clinton a chance to catch up Obama’s number.

The Clinton campaign is sure to complain, however, that it is unfair to hold a caucus: The original contest was a primary, and a do-over, they are sure to point out, should be the same type of election. They know that a win would be very difficult in a caucus system (witness the 36% differential in Washington between the caucus and the primary, and it appears that there is also a substantial gap in Texas between the two), and that a large victory — of the size they would need to cut into Obama’s delegate lead — would be very unlikely.

If anything, a new Michigan caucus could allow Obama the opportunity of a large victory (considering the size of his wins in other caucus states) AND give him his first win in a 100+ delegate state other than Illinois, which right now is the big hole in his resume. So a re-vote would help Obama here?

The second calendar item concerns… Puerto Rico! The contest there could be pivotal since it will award 63 delegates total. Up until yesterday, Puerto Rico had scheduled a caucus on June 7th, and there was speculation that its delegates could be awarded winner-take-all (setting up yet another showdown with the DNC). It goes without saying that 63 delegates suddenly going to one candidate in early June could have dramatically altered the race.

Yesterday, Puerto Rico changed its rules: (1) It will hold a primary, not a caucus, because of the expected high turnout (we saw in Texas and — to a lesser extent — in Nevada how chaotic caucuses can be if authorities don’t know how to organize them). (2) It will hold its contest on June 1st rather than June 7th — so the new end-date of the primary season will be June 3rd (Montana and South Dakota).

More importantly, the Washington Post debunks speculation that Puerto Rico’s delegates will be awarded winner-take-all and explains that officials are planning on a proportional allocation, much as we have seen everywhere else. So the scenarios many of us were contemplating of a last minute Puerto Rico victory allowing Clinton to catch up 63 delegates at once will not come to pass — though Hillary could certainly still benefit from this contest, particularly with it being a primary.



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    Strict Standards: mktime(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 41

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 50

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 52

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 54

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 55
  • Election night cheat sheet

  • Strict Standards: mktime(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 41

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 50

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 52

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 54

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 55

    Strict Standards: mktime(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 41

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 50

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 52

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 54

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 55
  • Final ratings: Democrats brace for historic losses

  • Strict Standards: mktime(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 41

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 50

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 52

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 54

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 55

    Strict Standards: mktime(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 41

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 50

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 52

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 54

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 55
  • What to watch for down-ballot

Strict Standards: mktime(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 41

Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 50

Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 52

Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 54

Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 55

Strict Standards: mktime(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 41

Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 50

Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 52

Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 54

Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 55

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

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