TALLAHASSEE — Via administrative procedure, the Florida Democratic Party has decided that primary challengers to Joe Biden will not be allowed on the state's ballot.
The party has received criticism from Marianne Williamson, Rep. Dean Phillips, and Cenk Uygur, who have filed to seek the party's nomination. Citing a delegation selection plan that was passed at the 2020 Democratic National Convention, the party downplayed backlash from those candidates and their supporters.
"The process to be on the Florida ballot has been publicly available on our website. It clearly states that the Florida Democratic Party’s primary ballot is submitted to the Secretary of State by November 30, 2023," said Eden Giagnorio, communications director for the party, in a written statement on Thursday. "This is the standard process. The State Executive Committee meets to vote to place candidates on the presidential primary ballot at the Florida Democratic Party’s State Convention every four years."
Williamson has been polling at numbers similar to Ron DeSantis and Nikki Haley on the GOP side, despite the fact that while the latter have enjoyed wall-to-wall coverage from mainstream media outlets and amassed massive campaign war chests, Williamson has been the victim of a media blackout and does not have big donors lined up behind her campaign.
Congressman Dean Phillips was a very late entrant to the race but is already polling higher than Chris Christie, who will be one of four candidates onstage for the next GOP primary debate Wednesday night in Alabama.
Biden and the DNC first drew criticism when it was announced that there would be no Democratic primary debates, even when Robert F. Kennedy Jr.—who has since announced he would run as independent, citing a "rigged" system—was polling higher than any rival of presumptive GOP candidate Donald Trump.
Both the Florida Democratic Party and the DNC have consistently argued that Trump is a "threat to democracy" because he does not respect Democratic norms, while simultaneously defending their refusal to allow the democratic process to play out in the selection of a Democratic nominee for 2024.
Some Democrats worry that the tactic of forcing Democratic-leaning voters to accept Biden as the nominee, whose popularity among his own party's voters has been at historic lows, will backfire come November, especially if there are multiple independent and third-party candidates to choose from.
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