Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Welcome to February 5, New Jersey

In a weekend dominated by the disclosure of the presidential candidates' first quarter campaign receipts, New Jersey governor, John Corzine, signed into law a plan (Bill S2193) to move the state's 2008 presidential primary to the increasingly popular first Tuesday in February. As CQ Politics reports, the state moved for the second time this cycle; first moving from the first Tuesday after the first Monday in June to the last Tuesday in February and then from that date to the first Tuesday after the first Monday in February. State lawmakers in New Jersey cited voting rights as their main motivation. The reason for the first move was to enhance the state's say in who the major parties' nominees are to be. With more and more states clustering on February 5 however, affecting the nominations appeared less and less likely.

Of course, such a move can be seen as necessary only if one feels the nominations will be decided on or before February 5. If one is to believe the state legislatures and state parties making the decisions to move and the media, then the consensus appears to fall firmly behind that notion. However, if the picture is muddled as to which candidates remain viable after the de facto national primary on that first February Tuesday, then the February 26 date New Jersey initially moved to may have proven more consequential. Some of this thinking is reflected in the recent discussions in the Maryland legislature to move the state's primary to the week following the fifth.

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