Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Goodbye Potomac Primary. Hello Mid-Atlantic Primary?

The D.C. Council moved forward with a bill Tuesday to set the presidential and local primary for the first Tuesday in April 2012.

There's one more vote on the bill before it becomes final. On Tuesday, as they discussed the bill, several councilmembers raised the idea of teaming up with Maryland and Delaware to hold their primaries on the same day. And a potential "Mid-Atlantic Primary" is not beyond reach: Both Maryland and Delaware are considering the first Tuesday in April as well.

There are hearings this week in the Maryland Senate over the two competing bills there to move the Old Line state's primary back to the first Tuesday in either March or April. The latter seemingly has more institutional support. That in conjunction with what is happening with the DC Council appears to put some movement behind the idea of an early April primary for Maryland and DC. But this Delaware twist is a new one. There may have been some interstate discussions between Democratic Party officials on the state party level, but that has yet to materialize in Delaware in the form of legislation to alter the date on which the First state's primary is held. That said, as FHQ mentioned a couple of weeks ago, we are right around the same time period in the cycle in which the Delaware legislature proposed legislation to move the primary ahead of the 2004 primaries.

The only observation one can take from this subregional cluster is that it lacks -- with Delaware substituting for Virginia -- some of the same punch the Potomac primary had in terms of delegates at stake in 2008. The Democratic bonuses for going in April and as a group will help make up some of that difference. And the state Republican Parties will have the option of allocating delegates on a winner-take-all basis as well. The move, then, is not without merit.


No comments: