Democratic Contenders–Minus One–Pull Their Names Off the Michigan Ballot

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The Detroit Free Press reports that Barack Obama, John Edwards, Bill Richardson and Joe Biden are having their names taken off the Jan. 15 Michigan primary ballot because that date violates Democratic party rules. All the contenders have pledged not to campaign there. With today being the deadline to withdraw, the paper notes:

The big question now is whether Sen. Hillary Clinton, the frontrunner among Democrats, will join the others and remove her name from the ballot.

A spokesman for the Clinton campaign suggests the answer to that is no, telling Swampland:

It’s unnecessary. She’s made a commitment with this pledge, and she intends to honor it — she won’t campaign in Michigan.

Now, the real question is whether Michigan Democrats will go back to their original plan, which was to hold a caucus on February 9.

As for the Republicans, it’s full steam ahead in Michigan. The paper notes:

The Republicans also are violating national party rules, but the party hasn’t forced the candidates to ignore the two states. In fact, all the leading GOP presidential candidates have been to Michigan frequently since the vote in August to move the state’s presidential primary to Jan. 15, and will participate in tonight’s debate at the Ford Community & Performing Arts Center on the U-M Dearborn campus.

UPDATE: Make that headline “Minus Two.” A Chris Dodd campaign official tells me he is staying on the ballot, too.

UPDATE: And here’s the statement from the Dodd Campaign:

Hari Sevugan, Communications Director for Chris Dodd for President, released the following statement regarding Michigan’s primary ballot.

“We are committed to the importance of Iowa and New Hampshire going first, and we signed the four-state pledge to hopefully prevail upon the DNC and the state parties to add clarity to that situation. However, it does not benefit any of us if we are the nominee to pull our name off the ballot and slight Michigan voters.”

UPDATE: Dennis Kucinich has announced he, too, will withdraw from the Michigan ballot.