WASHINGTON — Now that Barack Obama has clinched the Democratic nomination for president, he wants convention delegates from Florida and Michigan to have full voting rights at the party's national convention.
Obama sent a letter Sunday to the party's credentials committee, asking members to reinstate the delegates' voting rights when the committee meets at the start of the convention in Denver.
The delegates were originally stripped because the two states violated party rules by holding primaries before Feb. 5. The delegates from each state were given half-votes at a contentious party meeting in May, as part of a compromise designed to give two important states some role at the convention.
Obama's former Democratic rival, Hillary Rodham Clinton, had won both primaries, though Obama's name was not on the Michigan ballot and neither candidate campaigned in Florida.
”I believe party unity calls for the delegates from Florida and Michigan to be able to participate fully alongside the delegates from the other states and territories,“ Obama said in the letter.
Some of Clinton's supporters were outraged that the delegates were not fully reinstated in May. They were also angry that Obama claimed some of the delegates won by Clinton in Michigan.
Party leaders in Michigan had developed a plan to award Obama delegates even though he wasn't on the ballot. Their plan served as the basis for the eventual compromise approved by the party's rules and bylaws committee.
Obama clinched the Democratic nomination three days later, and he has been working to win over Clinton's supporters ever since.
Florida has 211 delegates, including superdelegates, and Michigan has 156. Both states are expected to be contested in the November election.
Obama's endorsement virtually guarantees the delegates will have full voting rights. Clinton, who also has supporters on the credentials committee, had lobbied to reinstate the delegates.