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No new primary for Florida Democrats

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  • Florida Democratic chairwoman says there will be no re-vote in Florida primary
  • Chairwoman: "No plan could come anywhere close to being viable in Florida"
  • E-mail sent to Florida Democrats late Monday afternoon
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WASHINGTON (CNN) -- After weeks of negotiations, the Florida Democratic Party said Monday it will not hold a second primary in the state.

The state party's leaders have been seeking a way to have Florida's delegation seated at the Democratic National Convention.

"We researched every potential alternative process -- from caucuses to county conventions to mail-in elections -- but no plan could come anywhere close to being viable in Florida," said state party chairwoman Karen Thurman in an e-mail sent to Florida Democrats late Monday afternoon.

Thurman said the decision now falls to the DNC Rules & Bylaws Committee, which is scheduled to meet again next month.

But it is not clear whether that committee has the power to make a final decision, or whether it will fall to the Credentials Committee, which will decide in August which delegations will be seated at the presidential nominating convention in Denver. Video Watch Florida Democrats abandon plans for second primary »

The national party stripped Florida of its delegates last year, along with Michigan, when both states scheduled their primaries in January in violation of DNC instructions.

None of the major candidates campaigned in Florida or Michigan ahead of those votes, but Sen. Hillary Clinton was permitted to host a few fundraisers in Florida.

She won handily in Florida, winning not only most of the counties but also every county in the lower three-quarters of the state. She took 50 percent of the vote to Sen. Barack Obama's 33 percent. Former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards, who has since dropped out of the race, received 14 percent of the vote.

The Clinton campaign, which has pressed for the full Florida delegation to be seated, said it was disappointed with the state party's decision.

"Today's announcement brings us no closer to counting the votes of the nearly 1.7 million people who voted in January," said Clinton spokesman Phil Singer. "We hope the Obama campaign shares our belief that Florida's voters must be counted and cannot be disenfranchised."

Obama's campaign released a statement: "We hope that all parties can agree on a fair seating of the Florida delegates so that Florida can participate in the Democratic Convention, and we look forward to working with the Florida Democratic Party and competing vigorously in the state so that Barack Obama can put Florida back into the Democratic column in November." Video Watch political analysts weigh in on fate of Florida's delegates »

Florida's Democrats had been weighing several options for a re-vote, including a possible mail-in primary to be held before the DNC's June 10 deadline.

"I'm glad that the party has reached the same conclusion that was reached by the congressional delegation a week ago," said U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Florida.

A supporter of Clinton, Wasserman Schultz had staunchly opposed a re-vote.

She said she would consider a proposal that would allow the full delegation to weigh in at the convention, but she wants each delegate to have only half a vote.

Former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, an Obama supporter, said Obama would like to see Florida's delegates counted in a way that would not alter the overall outcome heading into the party's convention.

But, he said, Obama wants to "give Florida the opportunity to vote."

Daschle rejected the one-half person formula that seemed to gain traction last week as prospects for a second primary grew more remote.

State party officials developed a draft plan that was sent last week to national party leaders, including DNC chairman Howard Dean and the Clinton and Obama campaigns. The plan called for combining mail-in and in-person primary votes in a new contest that would conclude June 3.

The proposal would have let the state regain its 210 delegates.


Florida's congressional Democrats quickly rejected that idea.

"After reviewing the party's proposal and individually discussing this idea with state and local leaders and elections experts, we do not believe that this is a realistic option at this time and remain opposed to a mail-in ballot election or any new primary election in Florida of any kind," they said in a statement released Thursday night. E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

CNN Associate Political Editor Rebecca Sinderbrand contributed to this report.

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