MIAMI — Florida Democratic leaders are expecting some mercy from the national party on May 31 when it reconsiders the state's delegates to the nominating convention. But as Barack Obama continues to expand his lead over Hillary Clinton, Florida's delegates matter less and less.
In a sign that Democratic power brokers are getting ready to move past the dispute, state party officials have started talking to key Obama supporters, such as U.S. Rep. Robert Wexler of Boca Raton, about coordinating a general election strategy.
''Everyone wants Florida counted, but at this point, what does it matter?'' said House Democratic Leader Dan Gelber, a Florida superdelegate who endorsed Obama last week. ``I don't see how [Clinton] catches up.''
Florida's appeal of its delegation's disqualification seeks to restore only half the delegates -- the same penalty imposed by the Republican National Committee for the early primary. A Democratic National Committee member who's been meeting with members of the DNC's rules committee said he's certain the group will allow the state to send some — but not all — of its representatives to the convention. Depending on the formula used, that means Clinton might get as few as six delegates.
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