Senator Nelson Proposes Plan for New Florida Primary

Democratic Senator Bill Nelson of Florida told Newsweek  yesterday that he has discussed plans for a new primary in Florida with the Florida Democratic Party, Florida’s Governor Charlie Crist, and the DNC.  His plan is similiar to the proposal  I have made in that it would solve the thorny issue of funding by paying for a new primary with donations.  More specifically, he has proposed that the Florida Democratic Party could raise “soft money” to fund the primary.  This is also similar to what James Carville  seemed to suggest on CNN’s The Situation Room yesterday afternoon.

Nelson indicated that he and Governor Crist met earlier this week and agreed on 3 points about solving the Florida delegate issue:

  1. A revote should be held.
  2. The revote should be a primary conducted via mail-in ballots.
  3. The Florida taxpayers should not bear the costs.

He also indicated that the DNC’s legal counsel determined that it would be legal for the Florida Democratic Party to raise soft money for a revote.

Soft money is money raised by organizations such as 527 groups that is not spent to directly advocate the election of a particular candidate.  For example soft money can be used for voter registration efforts and to promote positions on specific issues.  Individuals and groups can donate more soft money to such groups then they can directly to candidates and the national political parties.  The latter were banned from accepting soft money by the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002, otherwise known as the McCain-Feingold Act.  But the ban does not apply to the state political parties.

The bottom line here is that it’s looking more and more likely that a new primary will be held in Florida.  While the Obama campaign has not yet signaled its support for a new primary in Florida, it won’t really have any choice if the Florida Democratic Party submits a plan for a new primary to the DNC and the DNC approves it.


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