United States Senate
Governor Howard Dean
Dean for America
P.O. Box 1228
Burlington, VT 05402
Dear Governor Dean:
The Michigan Democratic Party will soon be considering a proposal to set the date of our presidential delegate selection caucuses on the same date in 2004 that New Hampshire schedules its presidential primary.
Since 1980, the Democratic National Committee has established a window within which delegate selection contests are required to take place. Those same rules, however, have allowed New Hampshire and Iowa to hold their contests before that window, distorting our nominating process by giving these two states disproportionate impact and making the delegate selection contests in other states less meaningful and in some cases irrelevant.
Many Democrats have long felt that our national party's presidential nominating process unfairly and disproportionately advantages New Hampshire and Iowa and the issues these two states care about to the prejudice of other states. We have urged the DNC to eliminate the privileged status of these two states, but our recommendation has not been adopted.
We understand the consequences of scheduling our delegate selection caucuses outside the window of February 3 - June 3, 2004, established for all states except New Hampshire and Iowa. If we schedule our caucuses outside of this window, we will be fully prepared to defend our position at the Democratic Convention in Boston next year.
You may be asked to make a commitment not to campaign in Michigan if we schedule our delegate selection caucuses the same day as the New Hampshire primary. We urge you not to make any such commitment. Michigan has just as much right as any other state to determine the appropriate date for our delegate selection caucuses and to hear the views of the candidates.