Tuesday, September 27, 2011

“Friday will be another significant day in this process.”

-- New Hampshire Secretary of State Bill Gardner on Florida setting a presidential primary date this coming Friday (quoted in the Political Intelligence blog at The Boston Globe).

FHQ wants to stress again that this whole process is sequential. Gardner is absolutely right that Florida is but one part of the equation in his/New Hampshire's primary date calculus. Once Florida decides, the process moves to South Carolina. Decision makers in both states will have to make their decisions based on an incomplete set of information. Florida will anyway. The Missouri situation is in limbo and will likely continue to be past the point at which the Presidential Preference Primary Date Selection Committee (PPPDSC) will have to schedule the primary (on or before October 1).1 The committee will very likely have to decide on a date assuming that Missouri will be scheduled for February 7, whether the Show Me state presidential primary actually ends up on that date or ends up moving back to March 6.

Florida will have to plan for that contingency and set a date accordingly. South Carolina will follow, then Nevada and then New Hampshire. Overall, then, Bill Gardner is in no hurry. The New Hampshire secretary of state will sit back as he did four years ago, wait for the dust to settle, and then make a decision that best suits New Hampshire.2

1 The PPPDSC will meet for the second and final time on Friday, September 30.

2 And no, FHQ does not "predict" that will be on February 7. At the time I wrote that, as is our custom here, that was the likely latest possible date New Hampshire could have gone given the circumstances at that particular point. If FHQ had to predict where New Hampshire ends up, I'd agree with the New Hampshire Republican National Committeeman Duprey: sometime in January.

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