Have Florida Democrats Given Up?

On Friday the four states allowed to hold early Presidential contests, Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, and South Carolina, asked the Democratic presidential candidates to sign a pledge to not participate or campaign in Florida’s political process. The pledge stands as long as Florida keeps it’s early primary. Immediately on Friday Bill Richardson, Chris Dodd, and Joe Biden signed the pledge. Now the three Democratic front runners have also decided to sign the pledge. “As I have campaigned across America over the last six months, it’s become clear that Governor Dean and the Democratic National Committee have put together a presidential nomination process that’s in the best interests of our party and our nation,” Obama said in a statement. “I look forward to continuing the dialogue with voters and building the kind of grassroots movement in Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire and South Carolina and the rest of the country that will send a clear signal to Washington that the American people are ready for change.” The Clinton camp released a statement saying, “We believe Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina play a unique and special role in the nominating process, and we believe the DNC’s rules and its calendar provide the necessary structure to respect and honor that role. Thus, we will be signing the pledge to adhere to the DNC approved nominating calendar.” The Edwards campaign also released a statement saying, “Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, and South Carolina need to be first because in these states ideas count, not just money. These are places where voters get to look the candidate in the eye and measure their policies, ideas, and integrity. That’s why I am signing this pledge. This tried-and-true nominating system is the only way for voters to judge the field based on the quality of the candidate, not the depth of their war chest.” Howard Dean is trying to get the candidates to support his idea of stripping Florida of any say in the nominating process, not even inviting them to the convention. Florida Democrats only have thirty days to change their primary date back to at least February 15th. It was all about wanting to be first when we already had a system that has worked fine for years. The Florida Democrats have shot themselves straight in the foot on this one. Some are saying it was a gamble they took knowing that Florida will be lost to the Republicans this election anyway. Popular Republican Governor Charlie Crist is on a couple of short list for V.P., and if he is picked the Democrats won’t have a chance in 08 with Florida.
Alan Cosgrove

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