Showing posts with label Super Tuesday. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Super Tuesday. Show all posts

Monday, February 5, 2024

Trump and Titanic Tuesday 2008

Leading the day at FHQ...

Last night as FHQ was preparing for the week ahead, I looked up and saw that today was going to be February 5. Big deal, right? 

Actually, for those who follow the presidential primary calendar and its many iterations, it is a date with some significance in the post-reform era. February 5, 2008 was Super Tuesday. It was so super -- so chock full of delegates, in fact -- that some took to calling it Titanic Tuesday. Indeed, both parties allocated more than 45 percent of all of their delegates that cycle on that one day! For comparison, neither party will have allocated any more than 41 percent of the their delegates in all the contests through Super Tuesday in 2024 combined

In other words, when folks look up frontloading in the dictionary -- if they are lucky enough to find it -- then they will see a picture of the 2008 map

What is more, the allocation rules were different than they are today. Okay, they were different on the Republican side. Democrats had and continue to have the same standard proportional rules with 15 percent qualifying threshold that they have had in place going back into the 20th century. 
In 2008, the GOP rules were different.

But in a lot of ways the Republican calendar was not only frontloaded but the rules were sort of inverted. There was no prohibition on winner-take-all rules early in the calendar as there is in 2024 (and has been in some form or another since 2012). And it showed. The map was peppered with plurality winner-take-all states in the 2008 Republican process and all of them save one -- Vermont -- were in contests held in or before February that year. And many of the other states on Titanic Tuesday and throughout February 2008 that were not truly winner-take-all had winner-take-all elements. Most of those, including California, were winner-take-all by congressional district.

John McCain rode success in those early states to a gigantic delegate lead that crested above the majority mark, clinching the nomination for him, during the first week in March. 

The interesting thing to me is that for all the talk of the Trump campaign working the state-level delegate rules for 2024 -- and, ahem, Team Trump did the bulk of that work in 2019 -- they would have killed to have had that 2008 calendar with its particular patchwork of delegate rules for 2024. With that combination, we would be talking about Trump clinching today rather sometime during the first three weeks in March. 

Team Trump definitely would have traded for that if they could have. But the RNC carried over the same basic set of guidelines for 2024 that the national party had in place in 2016. Which is to say that there remained a super penalty in place to prevent most states from going earlier than March and another penalty to nix plurality winner-take-all rules in states with contests before March 15. 

Anyway, it is a fun thought experiment. Changing to 2008 rules would probably not change the outcome in 2024, but it certainly would have changed the pace of how nomination season resolved itself. Happy Titanic Tuesday Remembrance Day. 

Last week a bow was finally tied on the delegate allocation from the New Hampshire Republican primary during the prior week on January 23. Only it was not exactly a nice and neat bow. Instead, as the AP reported it, the New Hampshire secretary of state allocated the one remaining delegate in limbo to Donald Trump, raising his total in the Granite state to 13 delegates. 

How Secretary Scanlan arrived at that was a little, well, weird. And the method used was not consistent with how the secretary's office under previous longtime Secretary Bill Gardner handled the delegate count during the last competitive Republican presidential nomination race in 2016. 

FHQ has started rolling out the state-by-state series on Democratic delegate allocation rules over at FHQ Plus. So far there have been looks at rules in...
What's the difference between Democratic and Republican delegate selection rules? FHQ Plus has it covered.

See more on our political/electoral consulting venture at FHQ Strategies. 

Sunday, March 26, 2023

California Bill to Change Primary Date Amended

Earlier this week, significant changes were made to a California Senate bill that, upon its introduction, appeared to affect the date of the consolidated primary, including the presidential primary, in the Golden state.

In fact, the original version of that bill -- SB 24 -- struck the entire section of the California code dealing with various aspects of the primary, leaving the date unspecified. In brief, the introduced bill described the legislation like this:
This bill would change the date of the presidential primary and consolidated statewide direct primary described above to an unspecified date.
As it turns out, however, that was a change meant to serve as a placeholder while the particulars of the intended bill were worked out. The newly amended version of SB 24 was released on Monday, March 20 and revealed that the date of the presidential primary would remain unaffected moving forward. In its place, grander language to put a public financing (of elections) system before the voters of California was inserted. 

California, it seems for now, will remain one of the anchors of Super Tuesday alongside the primary in Texas. 

Monday, March 6, 2023

Invisible Primary: Visible -- Super Tuesday is just a year away

Thoughts on the invisible primary and links to the goings on of the moment as 2024 approaches...

There have not been a lot of them this cycle, but this figures to be the week that "candidates aren't heading out to Iowa like they used to" stories die. Governor Ron DeSantis (R-FL) will visit the Hawkeye state on March 10, and former President Donald Trump (R) will follow on the 13th. The other candidates -- announced and not -- have already made initial forays into the first state on the 2024 Republican presidential primary calendar but the frequency of visits will only grow with the current top two candidates in the Republican race hitting the circuit. 

Marianne Williamson (D) is in (again), Larry Hogan (R) is out, and JB Pritzker gets a white knight profile in the Times. Meanwhile, Biden, who has not officially entered the 2024 race but is widely expected to, is not getting a serious challenge from the likes of Pritzker for much the same reason Trump did not four years ago: incumbency. It has its advantages and is something Trump, former president though he may be, cannot claim for 2024. ...with not entirely unpredictable results.

Speaking of that lack of incumbency on the Republican side, there continues to be a steady stream of stories confirming that 2023 Trump is more organized than his campaign was in 2015 but not in the dominant position he was in 2019. Incumbency (or lack thereof) is part of but not the only explanation. 

The operative question at this point is whether Trump is closer in 2023 to 2015 than to 2019. That answer likely differs depending on what area one is talking about. On the delegate rules, 2023 Trump is likely closer to the 2019 version. But it is much harder to map out how the delegate rules will work in a competitive setting than in one with one or more viable alternatives. On endorsements and financing, there is some greater distance between Trump 2023 and Trump 2019. On media coverage and legal proceedings, 2023 is much different than both 2015 and 2019. But it is also early in a dynamic process. Things could turn back in Trump's direction on those fronts should it appear that the race is, well, turning in Trump's direction. That could happen in the invisible primary and it could develop during primary season.

Walter Shapiro has more on the pitfalls to avoid when trying to project the winding path that 2024 is likely to take.

Kansas is trying to revive a presidential primary that was never really used in the past anyway. But there is a twist this time that may change that. 

On this date... 2024, the nomination process will be just on the other side of Super Tuesday, a day that will once again feature primaries in California, Texas and eleven other states (as of now). 2012, it was Super Tuesday, anchored by the primary in Ohio. That was such a backloaded calendar with California opting to return to its June consolidated primary, Texas forced to late May because of redistricting delays, and states overcorrecting in the face of new RNC rules that prohibited winner-take-all allocation before April. 1984, it was just another Tuesday. Democratic Party rules allowed non-exempt states to hold primaries and caucuses only as early as the second Tuesday in March. Super Tuesday, or what passed for it in those (still) early days of the post-reform era, was still a week away.

Wednesday, March 1, 2023

Second Hawaii Committee Green Lights Super Tuesday Presidential Primary Bill

The lone remaining active bill to establish a presidential primary in Hawaii and schedule the election for Super Tuesday advanced from the Senate Ways and Means Committee on Wednesday, March 1. 

An amended SB 1005 was quickly passed by the panel with no objections. The move now clears the way for the legislation to be considered by the full Senate.

With the House companion bill bottled up in committee, the Senate version becomes the only viable path to creating a stand-alone presidential primary for 2024 in the Aloha state, a state that has only ever known party-run delegate selection/allocation processes. 

Hawaii is the last state government under unified Democratic control with no state-run presidential primary.

Saturday, February 25, 2023

Hawaii Super Tuesday Primary Bill Stymied in House Committee

The Hawaii state House version of legislation to create a presidential primary and schedule it for Super Tuesday met a roadblock in the Judiciary and Hawaiian Affairs Committee (JHA) on Friday, February 24. 

Testimony was taken in a hearing on HB 1485, and unlike the committee discussion on the Senate companion, the House bill revealed an internal squabble among the Hawaii Democratic Party over the potential change. While the state party supports the transition from a party-run process to a state-run primary -- both the state party chair and national committeeman spoke in favor of the move in the hearing -- the Stonewall Caucus within the party objected. At issue was not the party-run to state-run change, but rather, the possible shift from a closed caucus or party-run primary process to the open primary called for in the Hawaii constitution. That constitutional provision conflicts with a stated preference for a closed process in the Hawaii Democratic Party constitution. 

But that intra-party disagreement was not what derailed HB 1485 in committee. After all, all Hawaii officials are nominated in the very same open primaries. No, instead it was a technical issue that will bottle the legislation up in committee on the House side and likely kill it. 

On the recommendation of committee chair, Rep. David Tarnas (D-8th, Hawi), JHA deferred the measure because it missed a just-passed deadline for bills to have been moved out of their initial committees. HB 1485 came to the panel with no stated appropriation, but the Hawaii Office of Elections estimated the cost to the state at $2.7 million, something that would cause it to be re-referred to the Finance Committee. That need for a secondary committee referral triggered the lateral deadline.

However, HB 1485 being blocked does not kill the effort to create a presidential primary election in Hawaii this session. It just kills the House version. The Senate companion legislation, the amended SB 1005, made it through its first committee ahead of the deadline and will move to Ways and Means where the price tag of the proposed stand-alone primary will be debated. It is that bill -- the Senate companion -- that will now become the vehicle for the Super Tuesday presidential primary effort. 

No hearing has been scheduled for SB 1005 in Senate Ways and Means as of now.

Friday, February 17, 2023

Legislation Would Make the California Presidential Primary Date Unspecified

Here is an interesting one from California. 

Legislation introduced back in December  would strike out the phrase "first Tuesday after the first Monday in March" and replace it with "____" in the portion of the California electoral code that schedules the Golden state's consolidated primary in years evenly divisible by four.

One could wrangle over the implications, but in truth, SB 24, sponsored by Senator Thomas Umberg (D-34th, Santa Ana), is likely a temporary placeholder for a substantive change to the date of the presidential primary. It is either a change the senator would like to make/explore or an idea around which he would like to build consensus over the course of the 2023 legislative session.

There was a variation on this maneuver in California during the 2012 cycle. That bill went nowhere, but the separate California presidential primary was eventually eliminated and consolidated once again with the primaries for other offices in June. The 2017 change that pushed the presidential primary in the Golden state to Super Tuesday for 2020 moved the whole consolidated primary to March rather than separating the two elections. That is where the California presidential primary is currently scheduled.

As an aside, FHQ would argue that removing the date altogether from California electoral code would not be all that functionally different from the way that New York handles the scheduling of its presidential primary every four years. The protocol in the Empire state has been to set the parameters around which the presidential primary will be conducted and delegates allocated and then sunset the change after the presidential election year concludes. The date reverts to February and the state revisits the date every four years. Theoretically, it is the national party rules that force the reexamination of the primary's timing in New York. A February date is noncompliant and actors on the state level are at least somewhat compelled to make a change. Those New York legislators do not necessarily have to do that every four years -- the change does not have to sunset -- but that has been the standard operating procedure there dating back to the 2012 cycle

Functionally, a California law that would hypothetically leave a blank for the presidential primary date -- well, the consolidated primary in years evenly divisible by four -- would force the same sort of quadrennial reflection. However, that would be an atypical move. The New York method is already unique, but it at least has some justification. There is permanent guidance in the statute on where the primary should be scheduled. It just has to be changed from the February date every four years. 

It would be unusual for a state, California in this case, to provide no guidance for the timing of not just a presidential primary, but a primary for a host of other offices as well in presidential election years. 

Regardless, that blank will either be filled in at some point during this bill's consideration in 2023 or the legislation will likely not go anywhere. And it may not get beyond the committee stage anyway. 

But California always bears watching. Although it is a Democratic state, it is still the most populous state and the most delegate-rich state in the Republican presidential nomination process. If California packs it up and moves everything back to June, then that will have some impact on the Republican calculus of acquiring delegates, likely delaying when any candidate might clinch the nomination. 

This legislation has been added to FHQ's updated 2024 presidential primary calendar


Super Tuesday Presidential Primary Bill Inches Forward in Hawaii

The state Senate version of a bill to create a presidential primary in Hawaii and schedule the election for Super Tuesday advanced out of committee on Thursday, February 16. 

By a vote of 4-1 with the lone Republican on the panel in opposition, the Hawaii Senate Judiciary Committee recommended SB 1005 be passed with amendments. None of the amendments dealt with the scheduling of the primary, but instead mainly focused on technical corrections/additions to the introduced legislation from the Scott Nago, the chief elections officer from the Hawaii Office of Elections.1

Aside from those issues, the biggest concern that emerged in the committee hearing for the bill was about a state party's ability to opt out of the proposed state-run primary. After hearing from a representative of the Hawaii Democratic Party, Sen. Joy San Buenaventura (D-2nd, Puna) asked of there was any input from the state Republican Party on the matter and whether an opt-out was included in the legislation for any party that may choose to stick with the caucuses that have been traditionally used to select and allocate delegates to the national conventions. With no representative from the state Republican Party present and the lone Republican on the committee, Sen. Brenton Awa (R-23rd, Kāne'ohe), silent on the matter, that question was left largely unanswered. However, an amendment was inserted in the legislation to provide for a deadline of six months before the proposed presidential primary for state parties to inform the state as to their intentions to participate in the presidential primary or not. 

The Hawaii Office of Elections estimated the cost of the presidential primary election to be north of $2.7 million. That was not a roadblock in the committee consideration of the bill, but it may receive push back when the full Senate -- or Ways and Means, where SB 1005 is headed next -- takes up the legislation. Whether that potential resistance is enough to derail the whole package is an open question. Cost of the election will be weighed against any pressure the Democratic majority feels to bend toward the discouragements of the national party to avoid caucuses. Hawaii is the only state with unified Democratic control of state government as of now with no state-run presidential primary option.


1 Most of the amendments were geared toward firming up specific deadlines for candidate filing and about language that would have to be tweaked due to the nature of a presidential primary. Unlike other primaries, the winner of a presidential primary is not necessarily the candidate who will appear on the general election ballot, a distinction not currently included in Hawaii electoral code.

Thursday, January 26, 2023

Monday, January 23, 2023

Wednesday, January 11, 2023

Legislation is on the way to move Pennsylvania presidential primary up

Word broke on Tuesday that legislation is forthcoming in Pennsylvania to shift the presidential primary in the Keystone state up to the third Tuesday in March for the 2024 cycle. 

State House Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta (D-181th, Philadelphia) and Rep. Jared G. Solomon (D-202nd, Philadelphia) said in a statement:
Pennsylvania has been a pivotal battleground state and will be again in 2024. Unfortunately, Pennsylvania’s presidential primary is the fourth Tuesday in April, long after many states have voted for a presidential nominee. This makes our commonwealth one of the last states in the nation to weigh in despite being a crucial swing state. Our voters should have more influence in selecting the most qualified presidential nominee for each party.

In the near future, we will introduce legislation to adjust our petition circulation schedule and move Pennsylvania’s next presidential primary date up by one month to the third Tuesday in March, making our next presidential primary date March 19th, 2024

This will increase Pennsylvania’s importance in future presidential primary elections, giving our residents increased national political weight in line with our state's size and importance. With an earlier primary, Pennsylvania voters will represent the 'keystone' needed for each candidate to win their party's nomination in 2024 and beyond.
A bill has yet to be filed, but this revives an effort that has been unsuccessful over the last two legislative sessions. It would push the Pennsylvania primary up to a spot on the calendar it would share with Arizona, Florida, Illinois and Ohio, making March 19 an even more delegate-rich date on the calendar. And while the move would bring the presidential primary in the commonwealth up into a potentially more competitive position in March, it would mean abandoning a slot where the Pennsylvania primary is the clear biggest prize on April 23, the fourth Tuesday in April.

Tuesday, January 10, 2023

A Super Tuesday Presidential Primary in Oregon?

If at first you don't succeed...

What did not work in 2019 and a revamped version of which also failed in 2021 will be back up for consideration in Salem in 2023. At stake is an earlier Oregon presidential primary. 

A link to this legislation has been added to the 2024 FHQ presidential primary calendar.

Friday, March 19, 2021

Oregon Bill Would Shift Presidential Primary to Super Tuesday

Legislation introduced earlier this month in Oregon would push the Beaver state's typical mid-May primary up to the first Tuesday in March.

SB 785, authored by Sen. Lee Beyer (D-6th, Springfield) resembles in part a bill from the last legislative session in 2019 which would have similarly moved the presidential primary up to Super Tuesday. However, the 2021 bill would move the entire consolidated primary -- including those for other offices -- into March in presidential election years only. The measure would additionally shift back the date on which the legislative session would commence in those years from February to May. The latter change also differs from the 2019 bill and saves state legislators from campaigning or raising money during the legislative session.

While that issue was not raised in the public hearing for the failed 2019 Super Tuesday bill, it was among the shortcomings of the legislation. The committee that heard the testimony on that bill also balked at the costs of a separate presidential primary and the impact it would have on election administrators. 

SB 785 addresses those issues, but it remains to be seen whether it will be any more successful than its predecessor was. Neighboring states all hold March or earlier contests, but the year after a presidential election is not a time when this type of legislation tends to move. But it would align Oregon with its neighbors if signed into law.

A link to this legislation will be added to the 2024 FHQ presidential primary calendar.

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

American Samoa Democrats Again Aim for Super Tuesday Caucuses

The American Samoa Democratic Party on July 3 released for public comment a draft 2020 delegate selection plan.

Much of the 2016 process has been carried over to 2020. There will again be ten delegates in the American Samoa delegation: six at-large delegates and four automatic delegates (DNC members). It will be those six delegates that will be allocated based on the results of the territorial caucuses. Those caucuses will fall on Super Tuesday again (March 3, the first Tuesday in March).

Candidates receiving more than 15 percent of the vote territory-wide will be eligible to be allocated a proportional share of the six at-large delegates.

The plan treats the four members of the American Samoa Democratic Party Executive Committee -- the party chair, vice chair, national committeeman and national committeewoman -- as pledged party leader and elected official (PLEO) delegates, but only if they opt to run and be elected/selected for those positions; something new in the Democratic delegate selection rules for the 2020 cycle. Additionally, there is no specific plan outlined for pledging those delegates to candidates based on the results of the caucuses. The assumption then, it seems, is that those four DNC members from the territory will remain automatic and unpledged (and ineligible for participation on the first ballot if no one candidate receives a majority of all delegates including the automatic delegates).

The American Samoa Democratic caucuses now become the sixteenth contest on Super Tuesday 2020.

The American Samoa Democratic caucuses date has been added to the 2020 FHQ presidential primary calendar.

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Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Governor Polis Sets Colorado Presidential Primary Date for Super Tuesday

Governor Jared Polis (D-CO) on Tuesday finalized the date of the 2020 Colorado presidential primary.1 In consultation with the Colorado secretary of state, the governor chose Super Tuesday from a narrow range of March Tuesdays as defined in statute after a 2016 ballot initiative reestablished the presidential primary option.

The decision aligns the Colorado presidential primary with primaries or caucuses in 13 other states and territories. Already the most delegate-rich date on the 2020 presidential primary calendar, the addition of primary in the Centennial state puts even more weight on the March 3 Super Tuesday.

This will be the first cycle in which Colorado has conducted a presidential primary since a three cycle run from 1992-2000. Parties in the state have held caucuses since then.

1 Full press release from Governor Polis's office announcing the date:

Governor Polis and Secretary of State Griswold announced March 3rd, 2020 as Colorado’s new presidential primary date


DENVER — Today Governor Jared Polis and Secretary of State Jena Griswold announced March 3rd, 2020 as the new date for Colorado’s presidential primary. The two were joined by leaders from the Democratic, Republican, Unity American Constitution and Approval Voting parties.

“Our Super Tuesday primaries will be a tremendous opportunity to participate in democracy and for Coloradans to have their voices heard by presidential candidates in all parties,” said Governor Jared Polis. “We are proud of 2018’s record turnout, as well as Colorado’s status as a leader on voting rights. We hope to build on that momentum by participating in a primary along with other Super Tuesday states to ensure that all major candidates listen firsthand to the concerns of Colorado voters.”

In 2016, Colorado voters overwhelmingly approved Proposition 107, which restored primary elections in Colorado in presidential election years. The state was previously using the caucus system.

“I am excited to join Governor Polis in officially setting March 3, 2020 -- Super Tuesday -- as the date for Colorado’s 2020 presidential primary. This will be the first presidential primary in Colorado in 20 years -- and the first where unaffiliated voters will be able to participate,” said Secretary of State Jena Griswold. “As Colorado’s Secretary of State, I believe in the power of our democracy. A secure and accessible presidential primary will give Coloradans the opportunity to create the future we imagine.”

The Colorado primary date is now reflected on the 2020 FHQ Presidential Primary Calendar.

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Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Utah Democrats Will Use New Presidential Primary Option for 2020

With the release of a draft of its 2020 delegate selection plan, the Utah Democratic Party has confirmed that it will utilize the new presidential primary signed into law recently by Governor Gary Herbert (R).

The confirmation means that Utah Democrats will return to a primary for delegate allocation for the first time since the 2008 cycle. The state party opted for caucuses in 2012 when there was no national party rules-compliant primary option. The February date in state statute was too early and the late June option added that cycle for state Republicans was too late. Both parties used caucuses in 2016 when the presidential primary was not funded by the state.

Like the last time Utah Democrats used a primary for delegate allocation in 2008, the election will fall on Super Tuesday. In the Democratic delegate apportionment formula, Utah is not delegate-rich, falling behind ten of the 13 states now slated to hold delegate selection events on Super Tuesday.

Finally, in the switch from 2016 caucuses to 2020 primary, Utah becomes part of another trend. The Beehive state now joins Colorado, Idaho, Minnesota, Nebraska and Washington state as states to have opted into state government-run primary elections for the 2020 cycle.

The Utah Democratic Party decision opt into the primary will be reflected on the 2020 FHQ presidential primary calendar.

2/25/19: Legislation Would Push Reestablished Utah Presidential Primary to Super Tuesday

3/7/19: Super Tuesday Presidential Primary Bill Introduced in Utah

3/11/19 (a): Super Tuesday Presidential Primary Bill Unanimously Passes Senate Committee Stage in Utah

3/11/19 (b): Utah Senate Passes Super Tuesday Presidential Primary Bill

3/14/19: Utah House Passes Super Tuesday Presidential Primary Bill

4/1/19: Utah Presidential Primary Shifts to Super Tuesday

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Monday, April 1, 2019

Utah Presidential Primary Shifts to Super Tuesday

On Wednesday, March 27, Governor Gary Herbert (R) signed SB 242 into law.

The bill reestablished and the law now explicitly schedules a presidential primary in the Beehive state for the first Tuesday in March during presidential election years. Utah will rejoin Super Tuesday for the first time since the 2008 cycle when the primary coincided with a de facto national primary day with over twenty contests in both parties.

Utah at this time becomes the thirteenth state to schedule a primary or caucus for Super Tuesday. Of the 13, Utah will have fewer delegates at stake in the Democratic process than ten of the Super Tuesday states or territories. Only Vermont and Democrats Abroad will offer fewer delegates on Super Tuesday. Typically, that has been a combination -- few delegates at stake on a date that offers many more delegate-rich states -- that has led to smaller states getting lost in the shuffle.

The Utah presidential primary change will be reflected on the 2020 FHQ presidential primary calendar.

2/25/19: Legislation Would Push Reestablished Utah Presidential Primary to Super Tuesday

3/7/19: Super Tuesday Presidential Primary Bill Introduced in Utah

3/11/19 (a): Super Tuesday Presidential Primary Bill Unanimously Passes Senate Committee Stage in Utah

3/11/19 (b): Utah Senate Passes Super Tuesday Presidential Primary Bill

3/14/19: Utah House Passes Super Tuesday Presidential Primary Bill

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