Wednesday, March 4, 2009

2004 Presidential Primary Calendar

Friday, January 2:
Maine Republican caucuses (through March 19)

Tuesday, January 13:
Washington, DC primary (non-binding)

Saturday, January 17:
South Carolina Republican caucuses (through February 21)

Monday, January 19:
Iowa caucuses (both parties)

Sunday, January 25:
Hawaii Republican caucuses (through February 7)

Tuesday, January 27:
New Hampshire primary

Sunday, February 1:
North Carolina Republican caucuses (through March 31)

Tuesday, February 3:
Arizona primary (Democrats only)
Delaware primary (Democrats only)
Missouri primary
New Mexico Democratic caucuses 
North Dakota caucuses
Oklahoma primary
South Carolina primary (Democrats only, party-run)
Wyoming Republican caucuses (through February 29)

Wednesday, February 4:
Virginia Republican caucuses (through April 4)

Saturday, February 7:
Michigan primary (Democrats only, party-run)
Washington Democratic caucuses 
Louisiana Republican caucuses

Sunday, February 8:
Maine Democratic caucuses

Tuesday, February 10:
Nevada Republican caucuses 
Tennessee primary
Virginia primary (Democrats only)
Washington, DC Republican caucuses

Saturday, February 14:
Nevada Democratic caucuses
Washington, DC Democratic caucuses

Tuesday, February 17:
Wisconsin primary

Saturday, February 21:
Alaska Republican caucuses (through April 17)

Tuesday, February 24:
Hawaii Democratic caucuses 
Idaho Democratic caucuses
Utah primary (party-run)

Monday, March 1:
Delaware Republican caucuses (through May 15 -- State convention)
Kansas Republican caucuses (through June 15)

Tuesday, March 2:
California primary
Connecticut primary (Republican canceled)
Georgia primary
Maryland primary
Massachusetts primary
Minnesota caucuses (both parties)
New York primary (Republican canceled)
Ohio primary
Rhode Island primary
Vermont primary

Saturday, March 6:
Wyoming Democratic caucuses (through March 20)

Tuesday, March 9:
Florida primary (Republican canceled)
Louisiana primary
Mississippi primary (Republican canceled)
North Carolina Democratic caucuses
Texas primary (both parties & Democratic caucuses)
Washington Republican caucuses

Saturday, March 13:
Kansas Democratic caucuses

Tuesday, March 16:
Illinois primary

Saturday, March 20:
Alaska Democratic caucuses

Tuesday, March 23:
Utah Republican caucuses

Sunday, April 3:
Arizona Republican caucuses (through April 17)

Tuesday, April 13:
Colorado caucuses (both parties)

Tuesday, April 27:
Pennsylvania primary

Tuesday, May 4:
Indiana primary

Tuesday, May 11:
Nebraska primary
West Virginia primary

Tuesday, May 18:
Arkansas primary
Kentucky primary
Oregon primary

Tuesday, May 25:
Idaho primary (Republicans only)

Tuesday, June 1:
Alabama primary
New Mexico primary (Republicans only)
South Dakota primary (Republicans canceled)

Tuesday, June 8:
Montana primary (Democrats only, Republican beauty contest -- no delegates at stake)
New Jersey primary

Thursday, June 10:
Montana Republican convention (through June 12)

[Primaries in bold; Caucuses in italics]

States that are split vertically had different dates for different party contests. The shade to the left of that line corresponds with the month in which the Democratic contest took place and the right side represents the Republican contest.

[Source: The Green Papers and news accounts from 2004. The latter was used to double-check the dates or discover missing ones.]

A few notes:
1) North Carolina. It isn't often that we witness a traditional primary state -- one that has held a primary every presidential election cycle in the post-reform era -- adopt a caucus system for the purposes of delegate allocation. But that's exactly what North Carolina did in 2004. Of course, the move was one of necessity and not the state parties'/state government's desires. Due to a battle of redrawn congressional district lines, the North Carolina primary (typically in May) was postponed until the conflict was settled in the courts. The primaries for state and local offices occurred in July, but the state parties (mostly just the Democrats) had to scramble to put together a means of delegate allocation. So, while North Carolina technically frontloaded in 2004, it was not a purposeful movement forward. The reason most of the caucuses fall before April or May is so the first step in the process is early enough that the process will be at or near its completion by the time the window in which contests can be held closes.

2) With the Democrats opening the door to February contests, 2004 saw a host of states take them up on the offer. Democratic primaries in Arizona, Delaware, Michigan and Virginia followed GOP contests in those states four years earlier -- when the Republicans had first allowed for more widespread February contests. Plus, Missouri, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Wisconsin all shifted their state-funded primaries into February as well. Again, as was mentioned in the 2000 calendar discussion, those allowances by both parties set the stage for the massive shift that brought about 2008's de facto national primary on February 5.

3) In all, there were 11 primaries prior to March, 14 during March and 13 after March. That's actually not a bad distribution of contests. Basically, that means there were 11 contests in February (if New Hampshire is included), 14 in March and then 13 contests somewhat inefficiently distributed across the remaining two months of the process. Sure, that focuses on the primaries, but if you have that same distribution above across March, April and May/June and hold the caucuses in February, that's essentially the same idea as the Ohio Plan the GOP debated last year. Those caucus states are, on the whole, the smaller states which are frontloaded in that plan for the sake of retail politics. An interesting parallel.

Recent Posts:
2000 Presidential Primary Calendar

Shoveling Out from Under...

The Supreme Court Weighing in on Frontloading?

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