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Obama's Magic Number Could Go Up

6 years ago
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Lawyers for the Democratic National Committee advised the party today that it may seat half of the disputed Michigan and Florida delegations at the Democratic National Convention in August. The group actually presented two options, seat half the delegates, or seat all of them but give them only half a vote each. The recommendation comes three days before a critical meeting of the Rules and Bylaws Committee for the convention. That committee could decide to accept the recommendation or to seat all or none of the delegates. If it goes along with the party lawyers, the number of delegates needed to clinch the nomination outright would increase from the current 2025 to 2118, leaving Sen. Barack Obama, the leader in the delegate count, approximately 90 delegates shy of the mark, according to Real Clear Politics' current delegate count and factoring in Obama's likely gain from Florida. Since Obama was not on the ballot in Michigan, it is unclear exactly how the delegates from that state would be allocated. But he may pick up some more from that state as well.

In the event that any of Florida and Michigan's delegates are seated, Sen. Hillary Clinton will maintain a rationale for staying in the Democratic primary race through the beginning of the convention. Her campaign argues that all the votes must be counted in the primary and has made her presence in the race largely about protecting that principle. She also argues that Michigan and Florida are important general election states and penalizing them by denying their delegations full participation rights at the convention bodes ill for the eventual Democratic nominee's chances of winning the two states in November.

Florida and Michigan were stripped of their convention delegates in August and December respectively of last year by DNC Chairman Howard Dean for holding their presidential primaries before the party-sanctioned date of February 5th. Candidates agreed not to campaign or raise money in the two states and most took their names off of the ballots there. But Sen. Clinton kept her name on the ballot in both states and Sen. Obama appeared on the ballot in Florida. Efforts between the two campaigns, the DNC, and the Congressional delegations of the disputed states to reach a compromise on the issue have all failed. Saturday's meeting could bring a final resolution or begin a new round of wrangling between the rival campaigns.

Note: An earlier verison of this article erroneously claimed that Sen. Obama would be approximately 140 delegates short of the new number needed to clinch the nomination. The author regrets the error.

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