Michigan Do-Over Primary ‘Dead’

Mar 20, 2008 6:22pm

ABC News’ Teddy Davis and Talal Al-Khatib Report: Sen. Hillary Clinton’s, D-N.Y., path to the Democratic presidential nomination grew tougher on Thursday as Michigan’s Legislature adjourned without approving a re-vote.

"What I can tell you is that the idea of a state-run, privately funded primary is dead," said Liz Boyd, a spokeswoman for Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm who is supporting Clinton.

The former first lady was hoping to find support for a privately-financed, state-run primary because the state’s governor and legislative leaders had ruled out the possibility of using state taxpayer money to hold a second Democratic primary.

Now that the Michigan House and Senate have adjourned without approving a do-over Democratic primary, Clinton’s circle of advisers are hoping that an agreement can be reached to hold a party-run mail-in ballot that would not require legislative approval.

It’s hard, however, to see this approach being adopted.

"I don’t know logistically how it is possible," said Michigan Democratic Party spokeswoman Liz Kerr.

The Michigan Democratic Party has not definitively ruled out a party-run mail-in vote. But Kerr said the state party would find it very difficult to manage any kind of party-run contest regardless of whether it is a mail-in vote or a "firehouse primary" in which voters go in-person to party-run polling locations.

"Logistically, a mail-in ballot presents the same obstacles that it did when we started talking about it two weeks ago," said Kerr. "Three million pieces of paper is a lot to manage. We are state party, not a government body whose sole purpose is to administer elections."

A further obstacle facing Clinton is that the Michigan Democratic Party is not going to approve any re-vote plan that does not have the support of Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill. As the overall delegate leader nationally, Obama’s campaign has shown little interest behind the scenes in reaching an accommodation.
"It’s very clear to me that they perceive a re-do as not beneficial to them," said Matt Marsden, spokesman to Michigan Republican Leader Mike Bishop. "So without coming right out and saying it," he added, referring to Obama’s Democratic allies in Michigan’s Legislature. "They did everything in their power to avoid that contingency."

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