Jon Ausman vs. Florida Democratic Party
Jon Ausman is a Florida representative of the Democratic National Committee. He has released an email that is critical of Florida Democrats aiding Republicans in moving the primary date up to Jan. 29th.
On 25 August 2007 three DNC Members from Florida - State Chair Karen
Thurman, former State Chair Terrie Brady and former two-term Vice-
Chair Jon Ausman - were given the opportunity to present the Florida
Democratic Party´s (FDP) delegate selection plan to the Democratic
National Committee (DNC) Rules and Bylaws Committee (RBC).
Karen Thurman spoke about the efforts by Democratic legislators to
prevent the Republicans from moving the primary before the 5 February
cutoff date. Jon Ausman spoke of the difference between primaries
and caucuses. He noted that primaries have 6,700 voting locations,
caucuses only 50 to 150. That 24,000 active military who were
Democrats cast absentee ballots in 2004 along with 105,000 civilians.
They would not get an opportunity to vote in a caucus. Terrie Brady
spoke about the municipal elections scheduled for 29 January and that
the property tax referendum was on the same ballot.
National news coverage of Florida´s presentation was covered by C-
SPAN. Two national networks provided coverage. The hyperlinks for
this coverage are provided below.
The staff of the RBC distributed a document, a copy of which is
attached as a .pdf file, which undermined the argument that the
relevant elected officials made a good faith effort to stop the
presidential preference primary from being moved from March into
January in violation of the DNC Rules. This memorandum clearly
1.Florida Democratic Legislators sponsored the
bill to move the primary to January 29th;
2.Florida House Democratic Legislators voted in
committee three times for the bill to move the primary to January 29;
3.All but one Florida House Democratic Legislator
vote on the floor to move the primary to January 29; and,
4.Florida House Democratic Leader Dan Gelber
stated, after receiving a call from DNC Chair asking for help in
opposing setting the primary date before February 5, "I don´t
represent Howard Dean."
5.Florida House Democratic Leader Dan Gelber
stated, after offering an amendment to move the primary to February
5th, that the only reason he offer it was "to show that there was an
attempt to state within the Democratic Party rules." The amendment
failed on a voice vote with no debate being offered.
6.Florida Senate Democratic Legislators voted in
committee to move the primary to January;
7.Florida Senate Democratic Leader Steve Geller
stated on the Senate floor that he was offering an amendment to move
the primary to February 5 only because he was threatened by DNC Chair
Howard Dean. Sen. Geller than mocked his own amendment which failed
on a voice vote without any debate.
After Florida´s presentation, RBC Member Ralph Dawson moved a motion
that did the following:
1.Found that the FDP Delegate Selection Plan was
2.Gave the FDP thirty (30) days to submit to the
RBC a Delegate Selection Plan that is in compliance; and,
3.If a plan meeting the timing requirement (the
first step of delegate selection occurs on 5 February or afterwards)
then Florida will be stripped of all unpledged and pledged delegates.
After debate and discussion, the RBC passed the motion by a vote of
23-1 (City Commissioner Allan Katz of Florida was the only dissenting
This gives the FDP two choices. It can:
1.Ignore the DNC RBC and hope that the Democratic
National Convention Credentials Committee will seat its delegates;
2.Submit a delegate selection plan which allows
Democrats to either caucus or meet in convention to select delegates
to the Democratic National Convention.
Earlier this year I supported a caucus plan to select delegates. The
State Executive Committee and Florida´s DNC Members voted to use the
primary on 29 January as the first determining step for delegate
selection. I argued strongly to support this position before the DNC
The Democratic National Committee has the right to set a window which
divides the four states - Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire and South
Carolina - which can select delegates before 5 February from all the
other state selection processes.
The Florida Legislature, with strong and active Democratic support,
moved the primary before 5 February to 29 January. This was not done
by Republicans over protesting Democratic legislators. The
Democratic legislators voted in five separate committees and in two
floor actions for the bill.
Some have attempted to state that Democrats only voted for the bill
because of the requirement to have voting machines with paper
ballots. That is not an accurate and true statement.
In fact, Democratic Legislators actively support the 29 January
primary in a number of votes before it was merged into the general
election bill. This was most unfortunate because by doing so the
FDP could no longer argue that we made a "good faith effort" to stop
the move by Republicans because in fact it was a bi-partisan move.
A caucus will allow us to have a full delegation. A caucus will mean
a Democratic voter in Florida has the same value as a Democratic
voter in Iowa or Nevada.
A caucus will allow us to collect tens of thousands of email
addresses, yardsign locations and cars to put bumperstickers on.
The DNC has made a generous offer to help offset the cost of the
caucuses by offering the FDP $880,000 to help pay for some of the
costs. The DNC has not offered a single other state any funds and in
the past has never offered any monies to any state.
When elected officials blatantly blame the DNC for enforcing its
rules and ignore the complicity of Florida Democratic elected
officials in creating this situation they are not serving the
Democrats of Florida well. They may get headlines, they may get
support, but they are being demagogues rather than leaders.
It is time for leadership. We represent the Democrats of Florida and
since our legislative Democratic elected officials have failed us, we
need to make sure that their votes, in caucuses, count.
We have 27 days to get the job done. Lets get to work together and
come up with a plan which will allow presidential candidates to
campaign in Florida and receive delegates.
Lets make sure the presidential candidates know they are going to get
delegates so they work to excite our Democratic voters. A caucus is
an opportunity to build a viable, active party for November 2008.
If you have any questions, please either write me or call me at (deleted by editor).
With respect, I am,
Jon M. Ausman, Member
Democratic National Committee