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3 Democratic candidates in US agree to avoid states that violate party's election calendar

3 Democratic candidates in US agree to avoid states that violate party's election calendar

Three Democratic presidential candidates became on Friday the first became the first to promise not to campaign in states that stage early nominating contests in violation of party rules.
Bill Richardson, Chris Dodd and Joe Biden quickly signed onto a pledge circulated by Democratic leaders of the four states that have the party's blessing to hold early contests: Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire and South Carolina. The pledge says the three will avoid competing in any other states that vote before Feb. 5.
Aides to Barack Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton, the two front-runners, said they were reviewing the pledge. Clinton's aides have said that previously she is committed to competing wherever a primary or a caucus is staged.
Primary elections and party caucuses are used by the two major parties to nominate their candidates for the presidential election in November 2008.
Party rules for this cycle had scheduled Iowa's caucuses on Jan. 14, with primaries in Nevada Jan. 19, New Hampshire Jan. 22 and South Carolina Jan. 29.
Florida has scheduled its primary for Jan. 29 and by order of the party will have no delegates seated at next year's Democratic National Convention unless the state party changes its plan within the next four weeks. Michigan's governor was poised to sign legislation that would move its contest to Jan. 15 despite the threat of similar sanctions.
New Hampshire and Iowa also are considering earlier contests to maintain their influence, but the pledge does not prohibit candidates from campaigning in those states even if they should go earlier than the national party allows.
Richardson, Dodd and Biden have the most incentive to keep the contest focused on the states approved by the DNC. They have raised less money and cannot afford to simultaneous organizing in multiple states, especially those with expensive media markets such as Florida and Michigan.
Richardson, the governor of New Mexico, said in his formal announcement in May that he would campaign in Florida even if the contest were on Jan. 29. But Friday he said in a statement that the "process is completely out of control and only an agreement by the candidates can restore sanity."
"Each candidate for president should do whatever possible to preserve the established rules," Richardson said. "Anarchy in the nominating process does nothing to further the cause of changing America."
Dodd said in a statement that the four states chosen by the DNC "offer a cross section of America and allow for voters to probe the experience and vision of candidates in a meaningful way."
"In this year, where the national media focus seems to be on celebrity and bank accounts, the role of these states is more important than ever," he said.
Biden campaign manager Luis Navarro said, "It is time to end all the maneuvering around the dates of the early primaries and caucuses."
"The public despises this kind of maneuvering for political advantage," Navarro said in a statement. "If the Republicans want to play this way, let them. But we will not be a party to it."
Clinton spokesman Mo Elleithee said Clinton is committed to the "special role" that the four states play and that she will campaign in Iowa and New Hampshire whenever their dates are set.
Said Obama spokesman Dan Pfeiffer, "Senator Obama believes the four early states play a vitally important role in the nomination process and would like to see their status maintained for the 2008 primary season."
Eric Schultz, a spokesman for candidate John Edwards, said in an e-mail that the four early states are where ideas matter more than money. But he did not say whether Edwards would sign the pledge.
"Senator Edwards is deeply committed to Iowa's special place as the nation's first caucus, New Hampshire's place as the first primary, and the role each of the four early states play in choosing the strongest Democratic nominee," he said.


Updated : 2021-05-09 11:03 GMT+08:00