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CAMPAIGN '08

A new tiff on Florida delegates

June 13, 2008|Anthony Man | South Florida Sun-Sentinel

Party unity is on the agenda at the Florida Democrats' Jefferson-Jackson weekend. But first, before celebrating Barack Obama, they'll engage in a little ritual bloodletting.

The Obama campaign wants a new selection of some delegates to August's convention in Denver to reward supporters.

Broward County Commissioner Stacy Ritter, for one, endorsed Obama last summer and campaigned for him even as almost every elected Democrat in the county backed Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Most of the state's 211 delegates were elected in caucuses and won't be affected. But 26 Obama delegates and two alternates selected by the state party could be.

The move has sparked some outrage, particularly from Jon Ausman, a member of the Democratic National Committee from Tallahassee.

"They are going to destroy 20 to 30 people's dreams," he said. "They are going to be authoritarian, not democratic."

It's also bad politics, said Ausman, who endorsed Clinton: Anyone who is removed won't be motivated to help with the fall campaign.

Obama spokesman Josh Earnest said the move would affect just a few delegates.

"By the time Nov. 4 rolls around, it will be clear to Democrats across Florida that stopping John McCain from extending Bush's policies for another four years is more important than a handful of hotel rooms in Denver," he said.

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