Friday, June 9, 2023

Legislative Inaction Struck a Blow Against a Primary Move in Connecticut, but the effort may not be dead

Invisible Primary: Visible -- Thoughts on the invisible primary and links to the goings on of the moment as 2024 approaches...

First, over at FHQ Plus...
  • The effort to move the Connecticut presidential primary to early April may have failed earlier this week, but bills to move a couple of other states' primaries advanced on Thursday. All the details at FHQ Plus.
If you haven't checked out FHQ Plus yet, then what are you waiting for? Subscribe below for free and consider a paid subscription to support FHQ's work and unlock the full site.

In Invisible Primary: Visible today...
The Associate Press account of how it came to pass that a Connecticut presidential primary bill was left to die in the state Senate Wednesday night before the legislature adjourned left a lot to be desired: 
Senate Majority Leader Bob Duff said in a statement that “unfortunately the bill had some opposition in the chamber and we didn’t have time to debate the bill and pass it.” 
Legislative records show the House of Representatives voted unanimously for the bill at 11:07 p.m., sending it to the Senate. Both the House and Senate adjourned at the midnight deadline.
First of all, the House passed HB 6908, the bill that would have shifted the presidential primary in the Nutmeg state up to April 2, at 11:07pm on Friday, June 2. That the state Senate was made to consider the bill at the last minute was not due to the lower chamber. It was all on the state Senate. And that body did not take up the presidential primary measure because a filibuster on an unrelated bill ate up much of the day on Wednesday before the legislature was constitutionally mandated to adjourn at midnight. 

Second, it is not at all clear whether the primary move was what helped keep the legislation on the back burner in the Senate. The primary date change was not the only provision in the bill. And it certainly was not controversial. Both parties in the state backed the change. What was problematic in the bill was a tweak to how minor parties file for ballot access. That got pushback in committee and drew an amendment before passing the House. That change may have driven some of the opposition on the Senate side.

That likely closes the door on the prospect of a presidential primary move in Connecticut in time for 2024. But the leaders of both major parties in the state stuck their foot in the door to leave open the possibility:
"Moving the Presidential Primary Election from the last Tuesday in April to the first Tuesday would have allowed Connecticut to join several other New England states, including New York, bringing more candidates, visibility and business to our state, and giving Connecticut voters a greater voice in their party’s Presidential nominee," the statement read. 
Both leaders added that they would continue discussions with lawmakers and the governor's office to "find a way to pass this legislation.”
Maybe a special session? Connecticut would not be the only state where legislative inaction  this year killed a primary (move) only to trigger calls for a special session

But here is the thing. When Connecticut moved to April from February for the 2012 cycle, the legislature in the Nutmeg state did not do what others joining the northeast/mid-Atlantic subregional primary that has been around in some form since that time. While others moved their primaries to the fourth Tuesday in April, Connecticut landed on the last Tuesday in April. Typically, that will not matter in most cycles. But most cycles are not like 2024, when April will have five Tuesdays. That difference already had the Connecticut presidential primary on a different date from the rest for next year. 

All the state legislative inaction does now is keep the primary there, alone as it would have been whether the other states moved or not. And it could all work out in the end. If the competitive phase of the Republican race stretches beyond April 2 when Delaware, New York, Rhode Island, Wisconsin and maybe Pennsylvania hold their primaries, then Connecticut would be poised to gain a lot of attention from the candidates as the next contest in the sequence with a nice four week long lead in. That is not a bad place to be. Think Pennsylvania, 2008. Sure, it is a gamble that things will last that long -- a lot of delegates will have been allocated by that point -- but it would be better under that scenario than in one where Connecticut shares the limelight with up to five other states. 

FHQ commented on Pat Robertson's impact on the way in which some candidates have subsequently approached the delegate game in the Republican presidential nomination process. Chris Baylor pursued a similar line, adding to that picture in a fantastic deep dive on Robertson's grassroots political efforts in 1988 and beyond. It is a good one. 

Jonathan Bernstein looks at why candidates are still getting into the Republican presidential nomination race despite the fact that Trump and DeSantis are collectively pulling in around three-quarters of the polling support at the moment. Not to channel James Carville too much, but it is the uncertainty, stupid. Trump has some baggage and DeSantis has not closed the door. But Bernstein's note on winnowing bears repeating: the field may be growing now, but the process will exhaust the field in due time as winnowing kicks into full force.

In the endorsement primary, President Biden got the nod from the Laborers' International Union of North America, a construction workers union.

On this date... 1987, Delaware Senator Joe Biden entered the race for the 1988 Democratic presidential nomination. 1992, President George H.W. Bush won the North Dakota Republican primary. The beauty contest Democratic presidential primary was won by Ross Perot, a victory that was disputed by Lyndon LaRouche. Arkansas Governor Bill Clinton, won had won the March caucuses on which delegate allocation was based, came in a distant fifth in the primary, all on write-in votes. 2020, former Vice President Joe Biden won the pandemic-delayed primaries in Georgia and West Virginia.


No comments: