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Fla Dems stick to Jan. 29 primary

Florida Democratic Party Chairman Karen Thurman is expected to announce tomorrow that the party is sticking with the state's early presidential primary on Jan. 29, even if that means it cannot send any delegates to the 2008 convention and Democratic candidates won't campaign here.

Democratic National Committee rules allow only four smaller states to vote before Feb. 5. Florida Democrats were told to schedule a vote after that date in order to participate in the 2008 convention.

Party leaders argued that the Jan. 29 primary was established under a new state law and pointed to the costs of an alternate election and the anticipated low turnout. In addition to the presidential candidates, a high-stakes property tax referendum will be on the Jan. 29 ballot.

"There are too many important things going on Jan. 29 not to have an election,'' said Miami-Dade County Party Chairman Joe Garcia. "The election on Jan. 29 will be much more telling about who can be president than any caucus in Iowa.''