Price Tag Precludes Re-Vote In Michigan And Florida

The controversial Florida and Michigan Democratic primaries will most likely not be rescheduled, as some activists have recently demanded, according to sources in both the national and state parties who spoke with The Huffington Post.

The sources claimed that neither state party nor the Democratic National Committee had the sufficient financial resources to restage the primaries and that any money raised for such an effort would be better spent on the general election.

When both states defied DNC rules on early voting and held their primaries on an advanced calendar last month, the national party ruled that delegates elected from both states would not be seated at the party convention in late summer.

But in the midst of the neck-and-neck race between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination, a suggestion has emerged from diverse quarters that voters in Florida and Michigan should return to the polls in order to empower delegates that could be seated at the convention.

Mark Bubriski, spokesman for the Florida Democrats, said the state party is not planning any alternative contest, and that party officials would respect the votes of the 1.7 million Floridians who turned out for the Jan. 29 primary.

The minimum price tag for a new round of balloting in Florida - such as a vote-by-mail contest - would be $4-5 million, a sum that is beyond the reach of Florida Democrats, according to a source familiar with state party finances. The price tag for a new primary could be as high as $18 million.

After the DNC stripped Florida of its delegates to the national convention as punishment for defying party rules, the major candidates all refused to campaign in the state.

But Floridians still went to the polls, and Hillary Clinton defeated Barack Obama in the state's Jan. 29 primary 50 percent to 33 percent. After the polls closed on election night, Clinton flew to the Sunshine State to hold a victory celebration.

Some supporters of Barack Obama claimed a foul, arguing that Clinton should not be exploiting a victory in an election in which the candidates agreed not to campaign and when the delegates would be invalidated.

Few observers predicted that the Democratic race would be as tight following the Super Tuesday contests as it is today, and large delegations from Michigan and Florida could swing the pendulum in favor of one candidate. As the Democratic contest has escalated, so has the controversy as to how the delicate question of enfranchising the voters from the two renegade states should be settled.

Democratic observers have long suspected that whoever the eventual nominee was would move to seat the Michigan and Florida delegations, rather than appear to disrespect two pivotal states ahead of what could be a heated general election.

The current delegate count from the Associated Press gives Clinton 1,136 delegates to 1,108 for Obama.

Stacie Paxton, a spokeswoman for the Democratic National Committee in Washington confirmed that party rules allow for two courses of action in trying to seat the delegates from Michigan and Florida: the states could hold new votes - which would be paid for by the individual state parties - or they could appeal to the convention credentials committee, which will meet this summer ahead of the August convention