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THE ORLANDO SENTINEL
Democrats Divided By Statehood Issue
by Ivan Roman
January 23, 2000
Copyright © 2000 THE ORLANDO SENTINEL. All Rights Reserved..
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico -- The Democratic face-off between Al
Gore and Bill Bradley in Puerto Rico in March might be called
off if a power struggle within the party is not resolved this
National party officials were set to decide this weekend in
Louisville, Ky., whether they had jurisdiction in the matter in
which pro-statehood and pro-commonwealth factions of the Democratic
Party here accused each other of political maneuvering.
After a bitter primary for local elections in November, the
local Democratic committee hurriedly called for party reorganization
by Dec. 31 to make it eligible for $2 million in state funds for
the March primary. The 95 people on the Democratic state committee,
controlled by members of the pro-commonwealth Popular Democratic
Party, and delegates to the 1996 convention, also dominated by
the PDP, would select the president and board.
The pro-statehood faction backs Gore. A minority in the Democratic
state committee, it did not present a slate and challenged the
reorganization. New Progressive Party Sen. Kenneth McClintock
said: "What we really want is to seek a structure to the
party here that reflects the ideological diversity within it."
PDP Sen. Eudaldo Baez Galib, local chairman of the Democratic
Party, called the challenge a move by Gore supporters to derail
a primary they might lose. If the DNC's Rules Committee decides
it does not have jurisdiction, primaries to pick the island's
33 delegates to the Democratic convention go on as scheduled.
If it does, the issue likely won't be resolved by Tuesday's deadline
for island officials to allocate state funding.