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Originally published Thursday, February 7, 2008 at 12:00 AM

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Campaign Notebook

DNC urges caucuses in Florida, Michigan

The Democratic National Committee (DNC) is pressuring Michigan and Florida to hold presidential caucuses so the delegates they lost for...

LANSING, Mich. — The Democratic National Committee (DNC) is pressuring Michigan and Florida to hold presidential caucuses so the delegates they lost for holding January primaries could be seated at the national convention, a top Michigan Democrat said Wednesday.

DNC member Debbie Dingell of Michigan said it's unclear whether either state would hold caucuses since they have held primaries, Michigan on Jan. 15 and Florida on Jan. 29. She said the DNC is asking the states to consider such a plan.

Florida Democratic Party spokesman Mark Bubriski said the party has no intention of holding another election.

"We've said all along that we're going forward with our delegate selection program using the vote on January 29," he said.

Michigan Democratic Chairman Mark Brewer said the DNC isn't saying anything it hasn't said previously to Michigan and Florida.

"Everybody involved, the candidates, the DNC and we, need to remain open-minded. So if someone comes up with a creative way that meets everyone's interests, we can do that" and have the delegates seated, he said.

DNC spokesman Damien LaVera had no comment.

Provisional ballots key in New Mexico

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Democrats prepared to examine nearly 17,000 provisional ballots today that will determine a winner in New Mexico's tightly contested caucus.

With 183 of 184 of precincts reporting, Hillary Rodham Clinton led Barack Obama by 1,092 votes, according to preliminary results.

New Mexico is the only one of 24 Super Tuesday states yet to report a winner.

The examination of the provisional ballots will be closed to the media but will be attended by representatives from the Obama and Clinton campaigns, party officials said.

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Provisional ballots are given to voters who show up to the wrong site, whose names are not on registered voter lists provided by the state or who requested an absentee ballot but signed an affidavit saying they did not return it.

Provisional ballots accounted for 10 percent to 12 percent of all votes cast, Democratic Party Chairman Brian Colon said.

Obama challenges superdelegates

CHICAGO — Barack Obama predicted Wednesday that Republicans will have a dump truck full of dirt to unload on Hillary Rodham Clinton if the former first lady wins the Democratic nomination, and he said he offers the party its best hope of winning the White House this fall.

At a news conference, Obama offered pointed advice to members of Congress and other party leaders who will attend the national convention this summer as so-called superdelegates, who can vote for any candidate.

If Obama ends up with more pledged delegates than Clinton, the superdelegates "would have to think long and hard about how they approach the nomination when the people they claim to represent have said, 'Obama's our guy,' " he said.

ALSO

Hillary Rodham Clinton picked up endorsements Wednesday from two Michigan congressmen — John Dingell and Dale Kildee — adding to her cache of potential superdelegates should Michigan and Florida prevail in their bids to be counted at the national convention.

Seattle Times news services

Copyright © 2008 The Seattle Times Company

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