DNC Appoints Panel to Review Presidential Nominating Process

Posted March 23, 2009 at 8:05pm

On the heels of one of the most competitive presidential primaries on record, Democratic National Committee Chairman Tim Kaine on Monday announced a 37-member panel that will look into overhauling the way the party determines its presidential nominee. “This Commission will focus on reform that improves the presidential nominating process to put voters first and ensure that as many people as possible can participate,— Kaine, Virginia’s Democratic governor, said in a release. Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), a top surrogate for President Barack Obama on the campaign trail, and House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-S.C.) will serve as the panel’s co-chairmen. Commission members include party and grass-roots activists, state and local elected officials, union representatives and past DNC members. The DNC’s move follows an arduous 2008 primary cycle that sent Obama and his then-rival Hillary Rodham Clinton stumping from Iowa to Puerto Rico. The race was so tight that it gave a few thousand superdelegates — elected officials, key party operatives and Members of Congress — tremendous power in determining the outcome. In June, after the final primaries in South Dakota and Montana had concluded, Obama had amassed enough declared and superdelegates to claim the nomination.Obama pledged to overhaul the complicated nominating system while he was a candidate, and the DNC adopted a resolution during its convention in Denver to look into the issue. A statement released by the DNC details a politically sensitive to-do list for the panel members, whose recommendations could help decide the fate of early primary states like New Hampshire, alter the quirky but beloved Iowa caucus system and reduce the overall number of superdelegates.The panel’s deadline for recommendations is Jan. 1, 2010, and new rules could take effect in time for the 2012 presidential primary.