Sen. Bill Nelson paints Florida ‘train wreck’ scenario

Sen. Bill NelsonClarence (Bill) William NelsonDemocrats sound alarm on possible election chaos Trump, facing trouble in Florida, goes all in NASA names DC headquarters after agency's first Black female engineer Mary W. Jackson MORE (D-Fla.) warned the Democratic National Committee (DNC) Thursday that it is facing the “biggest train wreck you’ve ever seen” if a standoff is not resolved over his state’s pledged delegates to the party’s presidential nominating convention.

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Nelson sent a letter to DNC Chairman Howard Dean Thursday asking the committee to either accept the Jan. 29 results of the primary election or pay for a redo of the elections, which he said could cost in the range of $20 million. Nelson said he sent the letter after Dean did not return his telephone call Wednesday. A DNC official said Dean returned the call, but failed to reach Nelson.

“If they go to the Democratic Convention and stiff-arm the Florida delegations, how in the world do you think Floridians are going to support the Democratic nominee on Nov. 4?” Nelson told reporters Thursday. “It’s in everybody’s interest to find a solution to this problem.”

However, earlier in the day, Dean said the party would not pay for any do-over.

“We can’t afford to do that,” Dean stated on CBS’s “Early Show.” “That’s not our problem. We need our money to win the presidential race.”

The DNC stripped Florida and Michigan of their delegates after both states moved up their primary dates. How to resolve the impasse is even more critical now that Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton (N.Y.) and Barack Obama (Ill.) are locked in a neck-and-neck battle for the presidential nomination, and neither has a clear path toward winning enough delegates to clinch the nomination. Clinton won both states, but both candidates agreed not to campaign there and Obama was not on the ballot in Michigan.

Nelson warned that if the DNC does not pay for a new primary and if the delegations are not seated, Democrats could very easily lose Florida, which has long played a key role in deciding the winner of the general election.

“If they are not going to accept Florida’s election, then we can do a redo, full-blown election again, but someone is going to have to pay for it other than the taxpayers of Florida,” Nelson said.

Florida’s Republican governor, Charlie Crist, and GOP legislature have refused to pay for a redo of the primaries, but Crist is open to holding another election paid for by the DNC, which has struggled in fundraising.

Nelson said not resolving the impasse would disenfranchise 1.75 million Florida Democrats who voted in the Jan. 29 primaries, as well as independents.