The Democratic presidential race is heading into a fractious end game as supporters of Hillary Rodham Clinton mobilize for a protest Saturday to demand that the party count two outlawed primaries that favored her.
Protesters planned to rally outside the Washington hotel where the party's rules committee will tackle the vexing question of how to punish Michigan and Florida without completely disenfranchising Democratic primary voters from those states.
At least several busloads of Clinton supporters were anticipated from Florida and perhaps scores of people from Michigan as well as demonstrators from various parts of the country. Barack Obama's campaign discouraged a counterprotest, although his supporters vied with Clinton backers for the limited public seats inside the meeting.
Among the scheduled speakers at the rally are Clinton fundraiser Elizabeth Bagley; two members of Congress who back the New York senator, Reps. Stephanie Tubbs Jones of Ohio and Corrine Brown of Florida; and Kim Gandy, president of the National Organization for Women. Her group's political action committee has endorsed Clinton.
Party officials voted before the two January primaries, without much controversy outside those states, to strip Michigan and Florida of their convention delegates as a penalty for holding their primaries earlier than Democratic rules allowed. All the Democratic candidates agreed to the rules and avoided campaigning in either state. Obama removed his name from the Michigan ballot.
Clinton won a majority of votes cast in both the renegade contests.