Wednesday, April 22, 2015

A November 2015 Presidential Primary in Louisiana?

A month ago FHQ discussed the state of play in Louisiana after it became clear that no money had been included in the governor's budget proposal for any elections after December 2015 (during the 2015-16 fiscal year). That would mean no funds for the March 5 presidential primary in the Pelican state. At the time, FHQ suggested that it was likely that Louisiana Republicans would simply move all of its delegate allocation/selection into the caucuses/convention process that it has used for the last several cycles to allocate at least some of its delegates to the national convention.

Now, however, there is a different idea floating around to circumvent the budgetary shortfall. Former Louisiana Secretary of State Jim Brown has suggested combining the presidential primary with the November 31 gubernatorial runoff election:
Finding it [funds for the presidential primary] could be tough. Brown's idea is to stage the Louisiana primary on the cheap; combining it with the gubernatorial run-off, November 31st. 
“Be the first in all of America to hold a primary,” Brown told KTBS, “get massive national attention and it wouldn't cost us one penny.” 
Brown said several lawmakers have approached him about his idea.
Consolidating elections as a means of saving money is nothing new. Such maneuvering was common in 2012 as separate presidential primaries were eliminated from New Jersey to Arkansas to California. But in all of those cases, the consolidation process meant moving to a later date on the primary calendar. This Louisiana proposal -- and folks, it is very definitely at the idea stage -- would entail moving forward/earlier and, in fact, into another calendar year.

Obviously, Louisiana scheduling a presidential primary in late November would be a violation of both national parties' delegate selection rules. And expect Louisiana legislators to get an earful from the national parties either directly or indirectly should they decide to move forward with this idea. But if were to move forward in bill form and become law, that could push the carve-out states -- Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina -- into early November of this year.

Just don't count on that happening.

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