Gov. Kaine Names Democratic Change Commission To Recommend Changes to 2012 Presidential Nominating Process

Congressman James Clyburn and Senator Claire McCaskill to Serve as Co-Chairs, Kaine Says


Washington, D.C. — Today, Governor Tim Kaine, Chairman of the Democratic National Committee, announced the 37 member Democratic Change Commission, which will recommend changes to the Democratic Party’s rules for the 2012 presidential nominating and delegate selection process. Governor Kaine also announced that he has named Congressman James Clyburn of South Carolina and Senator Claire McCaskill of Missouri as Co-Chairs of the Change Commission.


“This Commission will focus on reform that improves the presidential nominating process to put voters first and ensure that as many people as possible can participate,” said Kaine. “I want to thank all the members of the Commission who have agreed to serve, including Congressman Clyburn and Senator McCaskill who have graciously agreed to serve as co-chairs.”


Governor Kaine went on to say that he hopes to work with the Republican National Committee on a common approach that puts voters first.


President Obama first announced his intention to form the Democratic Change Commission in August 2008, during his presidential campaign. Delegates to the Democratic National Convention adopted President Obama’s proposal on Monday, August 25, 2008.


The Democratic Change Commission will address three issues: 1) changing the window of time during which primaries and caucuses may be held 2) reducing the number of superdelegates and 3) improving the caucus system. A copy of the convention resolution establishing the Commission is below. The Commission must issue its report and recommendations to the DNC Rules and Bylaws Committee no later than January 1, 2010.


The Commission is made up of 35 members and two co-chairs and represents a diverse mix of DNC members, elected officials, representatives of State Parties, academics, labor, business, grassroots activists and other Party leaders. A complete list of the Commission’s members is below.




Congressman Jim Clyburn

Columbia, South Carolina


Senator Claire McCaskill

St. Louis, Missouri


Commission Members:


Grassroots Activist Jeremy Alters

Miami, Florida


Political Strategist Jeff Berman

Washington, DC


Grassroots Activist Ashley Bliss

Atlanta, Georgia


State Representative Dan Blue

Raleigh, North Carolina


Political Strategist Bill Carrick

Los Angeles, California


Mayor Michael Coleman

Columbus, Ohio


Political Strategist Jeff Forbes

Washington, DC


Grassroots Activist Joan Garry

Montclair, New Jersey


State Chair Larry Gates

Overland Park, Kansas


School Board Member Adelita Grijalva

Tucson, Arizona


Professor Rob Hampshire

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania


Former State Chair Ned Helms

Concord, New Hampshire


Former Labor Secretary Alexis Herman

McLean, Virginia


Chairman Ron His Horse Is Thunder

Standing Rock Sioux Tribe


IBT President James Hoffa

Detroit, Michigan


Grassroots Activist Roseanne Hope

Minneapolis, Minnesota


State Senator Steven Horsford

Las Vegas, Nevada


Grassroots Activist Suzie LeVine

Seattle, Washington


UAW CAP Director Dick Long

Detroit, Michigan


Grassroots Activist Andres Lopez

San Juan, Puerto Rico


Former Attorney General Patricia Madrid

Albuquerque, New Mexico


DNC Member Debbie Marquez

Edwards, Colorado


State Senator Iris Martinez

Chicago, Illinois


Delegate Jennifer McClellan

Richmond, Virginia


Secretary of State Linda McCulloch

Helena, Montana


Attorney General Tom Miller

Des Moines, Iowa


DNC Member Minyon Moore

Washington, DC


Grassroots Activist Sunah Park

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania


Campaign Manager David Plouffe

Washington, DC


Grassroots Activist Rebecca Prozan

San Francisco, California


DNC Member James Roosevelt, Jr

Cambridge, Massachusetts


Congresswoman Linda Sanchez

Lakewood, California


AFT President Randi Weingarten

New York City, New York


State Chair Meredith Wood Smith

Portland, Oregon


Grassroots Activist Martin Yeung

Rapid City, South Dakota


Resolution Establishing the Democratic Change Commission


(This resolution was recommended by the 2008 Convention Rules Committee at its August 23, 2008 meeting and adopted by the 2008 Democratic National Convention on August 25, 2008 in Denver, Colorado)


Section 1. Establishment of Democratic Change Commission.


BE IT RESOLVED: That no later than 60 days after the date of the next election of the National Chair of the Democratic National Committee (DNC), the National Chair shall establish a commission (the “Commission”) to review the Delegate Selection Rules in light of developments during the 2008 presidential nominating cycle and to recommend changes to the Delegate Selection Rules for the 2012 Democratic National Convention, not inconsistent with these resolutions, to improve the nominating process.


RESOLVED FURTHER: That the Commission shall be known as the “Democratic Change Commission;” that it shall consist of 35 members and two co-chairs, all with the right to vote on Commission business, appointed by the National Chair of the DNC; that its membership shall be equally divided between men and women and shall be geographically and demographically diverse; that the DNC shall provide the Commission with adequate staff and resources to carry out its mandate in accordance with this Resolution; and that the Commission shall issue its report and recommendations to the Rules and Bylaws Committee of the DNC no later than January 1, 2010.


Section 2. Timing of the Primaries and Caucuses.


RESOLVED FURTHER: That the Delegate Selection Rules for the 2012 Convention shall provide that no meetings, caucuses, conventions or primaries which constitute the first determining stage in the presidential nomination process (the date of the primary in primary states and the date of the first tier caucus in caucus states) shall be held prior to the first Tuesday in March of the election year, except as otherwise provided in the Delegate Selection Rules and recognizing the valuable role played by the approved pre-Window states in 2008; and provided that no such meeting, caucus, convention or primary shall in any event be held prior to February 1 of the calendar year of the National Convention; and that the Commission also shall review the sequence and scheduling of primaries and caucuses with a view towards reducing the scheduling of such events on the first allowable date that resulted in 22 primaries and caucuses being held on such date in 2008 and toward reducing frontloading within the Window period; and that the Commission shall review the rules for proper enforcement of the primary and caucus timing requirements and delegate allocation matters, particularly with respect to action by the Rules and Bylaws Committee; and that in making its recommendations, the Commission consider any revision of the Rules of the Republican Party of the United States adopted by the 2008 Republican National Convention regarding the scheduling and sequence of presidential nominating events.


Section 3. Delegates.


RESOLVED FURTHER: That the Commission shall consider and make appropriate recommendations for revisions to the Delegate Selection Rules for the 2012 Democratic National Convention to provide for a significant reduction of the number of unpledged party leader and elected official (PLEO) delegates in order to enlarge the role and influence of primary and caucus voters in the presidential nominating process. The Commission also shall review the formulas for delegate allocation to assure that delegates are fairly allocated to accurately reflect the will of the voters and that the right of the delegates to reflect the sentiments of those who elected them shall be secured to all delegates.


Section 4. Caucuses.


RESOLVED FURTHER: That the Commission shall consider and recommend appropriate revisions to the Delegate Selection Rules for the 2012 Democratic National Convention to provide that:


a. the use of a caucus/convention system for any stage of the delegate selection process by any State Democratic Party shall be approved by the DNC Rules and Bylaws Committee in accordance with any new specific criteria to be set out in the Delegate Selection Rules, and which will be designed to ensure that at each stage, any caucus or convention will be adequately planned, organized, and staffed; will take place at such times and in such locations as will meet the requirements of Rule 3 of the Delegate Selection Rules and will otherwise maximize the opportunity for full participation by Democratic voters; will be run using appropriate balloting methods and, as to tiers following the first stage caucus, will utilize accurate lists of participants; and will afford the opportunity for meaningful communication of presidential candidates with their pledged caucus participants reasonably in advance of caucuses and conventions.


b. the use of a caucus/convention system for any stage of the delegate selection process should be organized in a manner that will ensure the maximum ability of Democratic voters to feasibly participate in the first-tier caucuses, including consideration of absentee voting in caucuses to benefit those who cannot attend a scheduled caucus due to military service, work, health conditions, family obligations and other similar reasons that prevent attendance in person.


Section 5. Status of Resolutions


RESOLVED FURTHER: That the Commission may address other matters related to the presidential nominating process and Delegate Selection Rules as may be identified by the National Chair of the Democratic National Committee, and that for the purposes of Article Ten, Section 2 of the Charter of the Democratic Party of the United States, these resolutions shall be deemed to be “otherwise designated.”