In the latest twist in the ongoing Democratic nomination saga, all eyes this weekend will be on a small group of 30 little-known Democratic Party insiders meeting inside a Washington, D.C., hotel Saturday to resolve one of the most hotly contested disputes of this campaign.
The Democratic National Committee panel is charged with figuring out how many of Florida and Michigan's delegates should be seated at the party's convention in August in Denver and allowed officially to participate in the naming of the party's presidential nominee.
In the balance hangs the tricky math that has denied the party thus far a clear nominee in this closely pitched battle between Sens. Hillary Clinton of New York and Barack Obama of Illinois.
The panel's decision could further prolong the bitter nomination battle by increasing the number of delegates a candidate must reach to secure the party's nomination.
While Clinton's campaign is demanding that 100 percent of the disputed delegates be seated, a move that would give her trailing candidacy a much needed delegate boost, many of the panel members reached by ABC News this week agreed Clinton isn't going to get what she wants.
"They'd [the Clinton campaign] have to persuade the committee that there was no violation of the rules and I haven't seen anything to support that," said James Roosevelt Jr., co-chair of the committee's rules and bylaws committee, who said he is remaining neutral in his support until the delegate dispute is settled.
Even if all of Clinton's delegates were seated -- something Roosevelt said the panel isn't considering -- that would not be enough for her to close Obama's delegate lead, which stands at 206 delegates more than Clinton, according to ABC News' delegate scorecard.
In any other year, the obscure committee rules and bylaws committee meeting would occur with little fanfare. But this year, when the Democratic Party made 300 tickets to watch the meeting available to the public this week, the tickets were snapped up in less than a minute.
Pro-Clinton supporters from Count Every Vote '08 are planning a protest outside the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel where the panel is holding its public meeting. The Obama campaign is encouraging its supporters not to attend but to spend the weekend registering voters instead.
"We don't think it's a helpful dynamic to create chaos and, in the interest of party unity, we're encouraging our supporters not to protest," said Obama campaign manager David Plouffe.
Representatives from both campaigns and state party officials from Florida and Michigan will make their presentations at the meeting, which, for the first time in recent history, will be covered intensely by the television news media.
The Michigan Democratic Party has proposed splitting its 128 pledged delegates by awarding 69 to Clinton and 59 to Obama. A proposal from Florida would divide its 185 pledged delegates equally.
All sides are hoping for a resolution to this months-long dispute over Florida and Michigan delegates Saturday.
"Every day that the DNC delays recognizing Michigan and Florida, however they come out, makes it harder for our nominee to win in the fall and it plays into the Republican hand," said former Gov. James Blanchard, the Clinton campaign's Michigan co-chair.