Clinton's primary night gambit

In planning to celebrate her anticipated victory in Florida Tuesday night, Hillary skirts the rules set down by the Democratic Party.

By Alex Koppelman
January 29, 2008 8:44PM (UTC)
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Tonight's primary in Florida won't be your usual election, especially since, at least on the Democratic side, none of the votes will actually count. (Hmm. Actually, let's take back what we said about this not being usual in Florida ...)

Since the Florida Legislature moved the state's primary ahead of the date the two parties wanted it held, each party penalized the state's voters. The Republicans cut in half the number of delegates Florida normally carries to that party's nominating convention, while the Democrats decided not to count Florida's delegates at all, and the candidates signed a pledge not to campaign there.


All that has made life a little complicated for Hillary Clinton, who badly needs a victory in order to reestablish momentum after the beating she took at the hands of chief rival Barack Obama in South Carolina this past weekend. She'd made it clear when she spoke after South Carolina's results were in Saturday night, and before, that her campaign would treat her anticipated victory in Florida (she currently leads by more than 18 points in the Real Clear Politics average of state polls) as a real win. An e-mail we got yesterday evening made that even more evident, as the Clinton campaign announced that she'd be in Florida tonight to thank supporters after the polls close. The e-mail came with this caveat: "She will visit the state after all polls are closed in the Florida primary, in accordance with her pledge not to campaign in the state before its primary."

Alex Koppelman

Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.

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