By Reid Wilson - 09/05/09 04:22 PM EDT
Democratic National Committee chairman Tim Kaine has moved several former supporters of Hillary Rodham Clinton off a key panel that will determine the party's rules for selecting a presidential nominee.
In an e-mail to DNC members on Friday in advance of next week's committee meeting, Kaine announced his slate for DNC panels. The slate will be voted on, and likely ratified, when DNC members meet in Austin, Texas.
At the height of the 2008 presidential primaries, the Rules and Bylaws Committee earned the national spotlight as party members squabbled over whether Michigan and Florida would earn delegates for holding primaries outside the allowed window. At the time, Clinton backers and Obama backers clashed over party rules in a decision that ended up helping Obama clinch the nomination.
Several of those who argued most strenuously on Clinton's side have now found themselves off the committee. Harold Ickes, the former top aide to President Bill Clinton, and Don Fowler, the former DNC chairman, will no longer serve on the committee. Meanwhile, Tina Flournoy, a top official at the American Federation of Teachers who served as an adviser to the Clinton campaign, left the DNC of her own accord.
New members of the rules panel include Rick Wade, a senior adviser to Commerce Secretary Gary Locke who directed Obama's outreach to African-American voters. Jeff Berman, Obama's delegate director, and Wayne Holland, chairman of the Utah Democratic Party who endorsed Obama after his state's primary, are also new members of the committee.
But Kaine did not evict every Clinton supporter from the committee. Harvard University Professor Elaine Kamarck and former White House political director Minyon Moore will still serve on the committee, and Randi Weingarten, AFT's president and an early Clinton backer, will serve her first term on the committee.
Mame Reily, a close ally of Kaine and Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) and a longtime power player in Virginia politics, will also serve another term.
Fowler and Ickes were each reappointed as at-large members of the DNC. Fowler, whose wife, Carol, backed Obama and sits on the rules committee, will also serve on the DNC's executive committee.
Insiders note the committee will experience serious turnover; only a dozen of the 30 members of the RBC will continue to serve on the committee. Both New Hampshire and Iowa are represented on the committee, though new members will take over; New Hampshire state Sen. Martha Fuller Clark (D) will be replaced by state party chairman Ray Buckley, while Iowa delegate Sarah Swisher, a Clinton supporter, will give her seat to state party chairman Mike Kiernan.
In total, Kaine kept about four in ten at-large members of the Democratic National Committee while replacing 60 percent, according to party statistics. On the Rules and Bylaws Committee itself, 18 of the 30 members are new.
Those new members could have a significant impact on the way the next Democratic presidential nominee is chosen.
At Obama's direction, a select DNC committee is examining whether and how to improve and alter the party's method for picking a presidential nominee. The decision that panel reaches must be ratified by the Rules and Bylaws Committee before passing the full DNC.
Though Obama did not win New Hampshire, the state is well-represented on key committees. Aside from Buckley, former state party chairwoman Kathy Sullivan will serve on the credentials committee; and Kaine appointed Fuller Clark and state party secretary Joanne Dowdell to the resolutions committee.
In a statement released late Friday, Buckley cited the appointments as evidence his state would retain its first-in-the-nation primary.
"Never before has the Granite State had so many DNC members serving on these committees at one time. This is further indication of President Obama's support for New Hampshire," Buckley said. "With so many dynamic leaders representing our state, I am confident that New Hampshire's first in the nation primary status is secure."