Monday, February 14, 2011

2012 Presidential Primary Movement: The Week in Review (Feb. 7-13)

Last week once again brought no actual movement on the 2012 presidential primary calendar, but there was a significant amount of action in that direction within state legislatures.
  • Pass it on: The Virginia House followed the Senate's lead in passing a measure (HB 1834) to move the commonwealth's primary from the second Tuesday in February to the first Tuesday in March last Tuesday. The House of Delegates in Virginia remained active last week, voting with little dissension (21Y, 1N) in the Committee on Privileges and Elections to send the Senate companion to the floor for a vote.
  • Bottled up: Bills currently in committee in California and Washington (and this one) had future public hearings scheduled last week The California bill would move the presidential primary back to June to coincide with the primaries for state and local offices while one Washington bill would eliminate the presidential primary altogether while the other would allow for a presidential primary only if both parties use that as their method of delegate allocation. All four bills in Oklahoma dealing with the 2012 presidential primaries received a first reading, had amends added and were all referred to committee as well.
  • Introducing...: There were also several bills either introduced or pre-filed last week to move back several states primaries. Florida would move to March under two Democratic bills, Maryland would move to either March or April, DC would move to June and hold all its primaries concurrently (Technically, that happened the week before last.), Tennessee would join a host of states on March 6 and New Jersey would follow the California plan to eliminate the separate presidential primary moving it back to June with everything else.
  • As has been mentioned in this space several times, there are currently 18 states with presidential primaries scheduled for February 2012. That would put those 18 states in violation of both parties' delegate selection rules for 2012.
  • Of those 18 primary states, 15 of them (California, Connecticut, Missouri, New York, Arizona, Georgia, Delaware, Tennessee, Wisconsin, Maryland, Michigan, New Jersey, Utah, Oklahoma and Virginia) have convened their 2011 state legislative sessions.
  • Of those 15 states, 6 (California, New Jersey, Oklahoma, Maryland, Tennessee and Virginia) have bills that have been introduced and are active within the state legislature to move their contests' dates back. Both California and New Jersey have bills that would eliminate an early and separate presidential primaries and position those events with the other primaries for state and local offices. That would mean June presidential primaries for both states if those bills pass and are signed into law. In the remaining states, the efforts are to simply shift the states' presidential primaries from dates in violation of the two major parties' rules to the earliest allowed date (the first Tuesday in March). There is also an active bill in Washington, DC to move the districts primary back to June.
  • For this next week the 15 early states in conflict with the national parties' rules will be the ones to watch. They will not be joined by any additional states this week or for that matter the rest of February. Alabama will be the next February primary state to convene its legislative session on March 1.
  • How would all of this look if all these bills happened to be passed and signed into law? States with active bills to move their primaries are listed twice, once where law has them currently and once in bold and italicized for where active legislation could move them. NOTE: THIS IS NOT THE CURRENT CALENDAR, ONLY WHAT IT COULD LOOK LIKE IF CURRENT LEGISLATION IS ENACTED.
Tuesday, January 31: Florida

Tuesday, February 7 (Super Tuesday): Alabama, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas and Utah

Saturday, February 11: Louisiana

Tuesday, February 14: Washington, DC, Maryland, Virginia

Saturday, February 18: Nevada Republican caucuses

Tuesday, February 21: Hawaii Republican caucuses, Wisconsin

Tuesday, February 28: Arizona, Michigan

Tuesday, March 6: Florida, Maryland, Minnesota caucuses, Massachusetts, Ohio, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Virginia

Tuesday, March 13: Mississippi

Tuesday, March 20: Colorado caucuses, Illinois

Tuesday, April 3: Kansas, Maryland

Tuesday, April 24: Pennsylvania

Tuesday, May 8: Indiana, North Carolina and West Virginia

Tuesday, May 15: Idaho, Nebraska, Oregon

Tuesday, May 22: Arkansas, Idaho, Kentucky and Washington

Tuesday, June 5: California, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico and South Dakota

Tuesday, June 12: Washington, DC

Tuesday, August 7: Kentucky

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