Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Carney Executive Order Moves Delaware Presidential Primary to June 2

On Tuesday, March 24, Governor John Carney (D-DE) amended his coronavirus emergency declaration to include a shift in the Delaware presidential primary. Like Connecticut, Maryland and Rhode Island before it, the presidential primary in the First state now moves back five weeks from April 28 to June 2.

Those four states' changes have left just New York and Pennsylvania on the fourth Tuesday in April date that all six states had occupied until the recent threat of the coronavirus began to wreak havoc with the 2020 primary calendar. Pennsylvania, too, is working on abandoning what is left of the former Acela primary in favor of a June 2 primary.

As with all of the other states that have changed their primary dates, the move changes when delegates are allocated, but potentially has a much greater impact on the sequence of the delegate selection process. Delaware is no exception.

Last week, on Monday, March 16, the Delaware Democratic Party altered the schedule for its state House district caucuses, the first step in the selection process. And although most of those district caucuses had been held and their work completed -- selecting delegates to subdivision caucuses (Delaware's "congressional districts") to be held May 9 -- the party over the weekend opted to postpone the remaining meetings. Remote and electronic meetings may be an option for Delaware Democrats, something other states have utilized in the early caucus stages of the selection process.

Regardless, some decisions will have to be made. A stoppage in the selection of subdivision delegates at state House caucuses affects the ultimate selection of district delegates on May 9 or whatever alternative date the state party might gravitate toward. And the selection of those delegates in turn influences the selection of statewide delegates. Those at-large and PLEO delegates to the national convention were also to have been selected on May 9 by a quorum of the very same district delegates also to have been selected on that date.

In essence, the pause button has been hit on the Delaware delegate selection process. And needless to say, with a new June 2 primary date, the selection will likely have to be adjusted anyway. The May 9 selection cannot go on as planned without the results of an April 28 primary. Slates of delegates could be chosen and filled later once allocated delegate slots are determined for each candidate, but it is more likely that Delaware Democrats will choose to conduct the selection process a bit later in the calendar, after the now June 2 primary.

Governor Carney's press release on the executive order to move the primary is archived here.

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