Friday, December 16, 2011

Deal Would Push Consolidated Texas Primary back to April 3

Add one, subtract one.

As soon as Ohio rejoined Super Tuesday on March 6 an apparent deal between the Republican Party of Texas and the Texas Democratic Party has the Lone Star state on the verge of shifting its presidential primary -- along with the primaries for other offices -- back a month from March 6 to April 3. The deal was necessary to accommodate the need for time for the federal courts to resolve the redistricting dispute in the state, redraw the lines and leave enough time for the elections to be properly administered. With Texas now shifting off the Super Tuesday line on the calendar -- pending approval from the federal district court in San Antonio1 -- the already less Super Tuesday relative to 2008 loses 155 Texas delegates. That leaves Super Tuesday as the date on the calendar with the most delegates at stake and brings April 3 -- with the addition of Texas -- up to the date with the third highest number of delegates on the line in the Republican nomination race; just ahead of April 24 (New York, Pennsylvania, etc.) and behind only Super Tuesday and June 5 (California, New Jersey, etc.).

However, the move does have consequences as FHQ alluded to in our Texas post this morning. Sure, Rick Perry is going to have to win some contests (Iowa and South Carolina???) to survive long enough for the southern contests on March 6, but now the Texas governor can no longer rely on Texas on Super Tuesday. And once this gets into March, it may take more than wins -- more like wins with attendant large delegate margins -- to survive and advance. In other words, with Texas pushed even further back on the calendar, Perry's chance of survival, much less a path to the nomination, takes a hit.

And even though FHQ got some resistance from the Republican Party of Texas -- the communications director and an Executive Committee member -- on the likelihood of RPT altering its allocation rules from proportional back to conditional winner-take-all, I can't help but wonder if the party may petition the RNC for a shift. As of now, the RPT line is that the October 1 deadline to finalize rules with the RNC has passed and the current proportional allocation is set in stone. [Sorry. These sorts of questions haunt me. It is a constant quest for a definitive answer where no wiggle room exists.] There may be no wiggle room here, but RPT could argue that their decision-making calculus would have been different had they known the courts would intervene in the redistricting fight and put the March 6 primary date in jeopardy. Now, the RPT argument is that the matter is settled and such a plea would fall on deaf ears at with the national party. That is entirely possible and signals that there may be no desire to make a change within the party. That may be true now, but this bears watching over the next [insert some definite period of time here]; whether sentiment within the state party changes on the matter of delegate allocation.  

1 According to those close to the process, the courts left it up to the two state parties to hash out.

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