Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Idaho Presidential Primary Bill Passes State House, Off to Governor Otter

The Idaho state House passed SB 1066 on Tuesday, March 31. The measure to reestablish a presidential primary and schedule it as a free-standing election on the second Tuesday in March navigated the lower chamber with only minority party Democrats and a handful of Republicans in opposition. The 50-19 vote now sends the bill off to Governor Butch Otter for his consideration.

If the governor signs the legislation that would clear the way for Idaho Republicans to switch back to a primary as its means of allocating delegates to the Republican National Convention from the caucuses/convention the party used in 2012. The Idaho Republican Party passed a resolution at its 2015 winter meeting stipulating that it would opt for a presidential primary if the state legislature passed legislation to bring the 2012-repealed primary back at an earlier date.1

An Idaho presidential primary on March 8 would align it with primaries in Michigan, Mississippi, Ohio and Republican caucuses in Hawaii. A primary on that date is also under consideration in neighboring Washington state.

1 The Idaho GOP did call for a consolidated primary election in that resolution. What the legislature has provided is not that, though the presidential primary may run concurrently with school elections held at that point in March. That may require additional action from the state party in order to fully switch back to a primary.

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