20
Oct
03

Starw Poll Anyone?

Sun-Sentinel: Florida news: “Howard Dean’s presidential campaign is quietly mobilizing for a show of force at Florida’s state Democratic Party convention despite calls by national party leaders for a boycott if a straw poll is taken.

Although a nonbinding “beauty contest,” the proposed straw poll would serve as the most striking measure of the candidates’ strength heading into the caucuses and primaries that begin Jan. 19.

Dean, a former Vermont governor, is the Democratic front-runner in fund raising and opinion polls in key primary states. An e-mail sent to his Florida supporters explains the process of delegate registration to the convention, The Miami Herald reported Sunday.

Only official delegates to the convention in early December — about 3,000 party activists — could vote in the straw ballot.

The Dean e-mail also tells supporters that a party straw poll 12 years ago ignited the Clinton campaign.

‘Bill Clinton in 1991, a governor from a small state, received a tremendous boost from Florida Democrats,’ the e-mail reads. ‘With our convention coming only six weeks before the first caucus and seven weeks before the first primary, Florida again has the opportunity to show the way.’

National party leaders and several of Dean’s eight rivals for the nomination have complained that the Florida straw poll would drain precious resources at a critical time.

The Democratic National Committee has asked each campaign to sign a letter to Florida Democratic Party Chairman Scott Maddox promising to boycott the convention if a straw poll is held.

Dean campaign manager Joe Trippi said his candidate is interested in showing muscle at the Florida convention, with or without a straw poll.

‘We want to come make our case in Florida,’ Trippi said. ‘The Florida convention has always been a pivotal moment.’

Maddox said that he expects the state party’s central committee to vote next month to conduct the poll.”

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