Wednesday, January 5, 2011

The Impact of 2010 State Governmental Elections on Frontloading: Part One

On Monday, FHQ posted a chronological list of the start dates for all 50 state legislative sessions. Now, from that calendar several factors, as discussed there, could be gleaned that could impact the evolution of the 2012 presidential primary calendar. However, it was only intended as the opening of an incremental assessment of the state of play in the calendar maneuvering that will take place throughout 2011. State legislatures are very much at the nexus of this decision in a majority of states -- those with primaries. As such the partisan composition of those state legislatures is an important point of departure.

The Republican wave that swept over the 111th Congress grabbed a majority of the headlines as did some of the wins the party saw in gubernatorial races. Yet, those GOP advances stretched down-ballot to state legislatures as well. Nationwide that translated into a gain of more than 675 seats across all state legislatures according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Before I get too far into this first step look into the post-2010 partisan composition of state legislatures, or more to the point, whether there is unified or divided government on the state level, I should note that this is but one of many factors that plays a role in determining if a state ultimately opts to shift the date on which its presidential primary is held. In the models I ran in my dissertation research [pdf], I repeatedly found that structural factors had a greater influence a state's propensity to frontload in the 1976-2008 period than what I deemed political factors. In other words, matters such as whether a state held its presidential primary concurrently with its primaries for state and local offices was of greater import than divided government. It should be noted that another political factor, the presence of an incumbent president running for reelection, had a larger impact than either a divided state government (legislature and governor) or a divided legislature. The theory behind all of this is that rationally acting decision makers would utilize a cost/benefit analysis when deciding whether to frontload their primary. Those state-level decision makers with less structural, political, economic and cultural impediments standing in the way of the decision were found to be more likely to have shifted their primary (or caucus) over the period mentioned above.

While inter-chamber partisan division within a legislature would hypothetically serve as a deterrent to frontloading, it was never the statistically significant factor that inter-branch partisan division (between the executive and legislative branches) consistently proved to be.

That said, what impact did the 2010 Republican wave have on the presence of unified or divided government? First, it is instructive to examine the executive and legislative chamber flips in partisan control during the 2010 elections.

[Click to Enlarge]

Understandably, this is a map that trends red, but only shows two instances (Maine and Wisconsin) where the Republican Party gained control of the executive branch and both the upper and lower chambers of the legislature. Overall, the map does not tell us much more than the map the National Conference of State Legislatures provides other than the fact that it adds gubernatorial gains to the equation. But let's add in a map that shows the prevalence of unified government and then create a hybrid of the two that demonstrates not only the presence of Republican-controlled unified government, but the gains made on that front during 2010.

[Click to Enlarge]

Again, this second map shows us the extent to which unified government extended following the 2010 elections. On the surface, the midterms proved to be a boon to Republican fortunes nearly nationwide. It would, theoretically, have an impact not only on frontloading but on redistricting as well. Unified Republican-control on the state level translates into fewer hurdles between a party making congressional seat gains through redistricting or making an advantageous move of a primary ahead of a presidential nomination cycle that will only see a competitive Republican race.

But what was the impact of 2010?

[Click to Enlarge]

Well, the state that already had unified government prior to 2010 are shaded in either dark red or blue. The gains in unified control by either party are in the lighter shades. If we were a truly enterprising blog, FHQ would go ahead an layer in the new electoral college map as a means of discerning the states where unified control was established and where redistricting will have to take place. Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania are the big ones on that front and sadly for the Democratic Party, California is neither redistricted by its state legislature nor did it gain any seats in the latest reapportionment. Redistricting aside, however, this series of maps does set the stage for an examination of how the partisan shifts in control at the state level will potentially impact the frontloading process during the 2011 state legislative sessions.

With so many states now under unified Republican control and with the Republican nomination being the only contested race, the potential exists for quite a lot of primary movement. But FHQ will delve into that tomorrow with a wider discussion of other factors that could influence state legislative decision making in terms of presidential primary timing.

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Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Headline Writers Need to Be Stopped

Earlier FHQ linked to an article from the Columbus Dispatch that correctly identified the news in its article on the possibility of a later 2012 presidential primary in Ohio. In fact, the headline was good enough in our opinion to repeat here.

That story has since been picked up in part by the Associated Press and has morphed from the incoming secretary of state pointing out a potential timing issue between the redistricting process and the presidential primary into said secretary of state contemplating moving the presidential primary himself.


I'm no expert -- well, I suppose I am -- but the last time I checked, in Ohio, as in many other states, the state legislature is responsible for moving the date on which the state's primary is held. And that move has to be signed off on by the governor, not the secretary of state. New Hampshire is the only state where the secretary of state plays a direct role in the scheduling of presidential primaries. The state legislature in the Granite state ceded that power in 1976 in an effort to assure the state maximum flexibility in maintaining its first in the nation primary. Now this isn't to suggest that secretaries of state, under which typically resides a state board of elections, has no role to play in this process. However, that role is rarely anything other than an advisory role. And that seems to be the case in Ohio. The state legislature will be the entity to act on this if it cannot quickly draw the congressional district lines. [Let's keep in mind that Ohio is now under unified Republican control following the 2010 elections.]

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"Slow redistricting could delay Ohio's presidential primary"

"Ohio's 2012 presidential primary election might have to be moved to later in the year if state lawmakers are slow to draw new congressional districts this year, incoming Secretary of State Jon Husted said yesterday."
There is always a domino effect. Ohio state law requires petitions for candidacy to be filed at least 90 days in advance of the March 6, 2012 primary (December 7, 2011), but both congressional and state legislative districts will have to have been drawn by then so candidates -- both incumbents and challengers -- know where they are running. This obviously puts a bit of pressure on state and local boards of elections to solidify the field of candidates and then print (or prepare electronic) ballots for the primary.

It remains to be seen if this news will actually filter down to members of the state legislature, some of whom may opt to introduce a bill that shifts the date on which the presidential primary (and those for other offices as well) is held. Though it didn't go anywhere, a group of Democratic state senators proposed a bill that would have moved the Ohio primary into January for the 2008 cycle. That would have been in violation of both national parties' delegate selection rules (And wouldn't it have been fun to tack Ohio onto the Florida/Michigan mess?). Of course, that didn't stop the bill's introduction.

File this one away and be on the lookout for other similar situations in other states where reapportionment has forced district redraws.

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Monday, January 3, 2011

A View of the 2008 Presidential Election Results Through the Lens of the Electoral College Spectrum

[Click to Enlarge]

Yesterday, FHQ promised that it would be back today with a look at the impact the reapportionment changes would have had on the 2008 election. More importantly, though, it is instructive to dust off the Electoral College Spectrum and begin to visualize how the seat/electoral college vote shifts will impact the 2012 presidential election. The map above accomplishes the former without much explanation -- Obama would have lost six electoral votes overall in 2008 -- and below you will find the latter.

The Electoral College Spectrum*
*Follow the link for a detailed explanation on how to read the Electoral College Spectrum.
**The numbers in the parentheses refer to the number of electoral votes a candidate would have if he won all the states ranked prior to that state. If, for example, McCain won all the states up to and including Colorado (all Obama's toss up states plus Colorado), he would have 275 electoral votes. McCain's numbers are only totaled through the states he would have needed in order to get to 270. In those cases, Obama's number is on the left and McCain's is on the right in italics.

Colorado is the state where Obama crossed the 270 electoral vote threshold to win the presidential election. That line is referred to as the victory line.
****Nebraska allocates electoral votes based on statewide results and the results within each of its congressional districts. Nebraska's 2nd district voted for Barack Obama in 2008.

Again, this graphic is helpful from the standpoint of ranking the states from most pro-Obama to most pro-GOP, but it also provides a glimpse into what each side has to do in the general election in 2012 to either maintain or win back the White House. President Obama had such a cushion in the 2008 election -- even under the newly reapportioned electoral college -- that the Democrat could lose next year all of the middle column states except the three on top and still win. In other words, the president could yield Florida, Ohio and North Carolina, among others, and still win re-election assuming that the Republican nominee is unable to advance into some of the other seemingly safer Obama states. It is hard not to see New Hampshire and Iowa -- two of the three states that flipped between the parties between the 2000 and 2004 elections -- as well as Colorado and Virginia as the major battlegrounds of the 2012 election. And in light of the announced layoffs at Organizing for America, these states are important enough that FHQ would be willing to wager that no OFA scale back will affect any of the states listed immediately above.

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Frontloading Starts with State Legislatures: The 2011 State Legislative Session Calendar

The National Conference of State Legislatures has this calendar as well, but in alphabetical order. FHQ is more concerned with sequence. Which state legislatures convene first, when do their sessions end and how does this impact the scheduling of presidential primaries?

2011 State Legislative Session Calendar
Date (Open)
Date (Close)
December 1, 2010Maine*
June 15, 2011
December 6CaliforniaSeptember 9
January 3, 2011Montana
late April
January 4Kentucky
Minnesota *
North Dakota*
Rhode Island
March 22
May 23
early April
late April
late June
January 5Connecticut
New Hampshire
New York
June 8
April 29
May 30
early June
July 1
mid May
January 10Arizona
late April
March 10
mid April
late March
late April
late May
April 24
January 11Delaware
South Carolina
South Dakota
June 30
June 2
mid March
mid May
May 30
early March
January 12Colorado*
New Jersey
West Virginia
May 11
early April
February 26
mid March
January 18Alaska*
New Mexico
April 17
March 19
January 19Hawaii*mid May
January 24UtahMarch 10
January 26North Carolina
early June
February 1OregonJune 30
February 7Nevada*
June 6
May 27
March 1Alabama
mid June
March 8Florida
May 6
April 25LouisianaJune 23
*States in italics are caucus states. State parties and not state legislatures control the scheduling of those contests.
**State legislatures with year-round sessions.

The table answers the first two of the three questions posed above. With the schedule of state legislative sessions down, though, what impact will this have on the 2012 presidential primary calendar? As has been mentioned several times in this space, the true impact of anything dealing with the 2012 calendar will be felt first in the 18 non-exempt states with primaries currently positioned prior to March. Those are the states where some action is necessary to pull the timing of their delegate selection event within the bounds set by the two national parties' 2012 delegate selection rules.

The most interesting note is that the state legislature in Florida does not convene until March 8; the next to last state to open its session. Why is this noteworthy? Well, Florida, a state whose election codes have the 2012 presidential primary scheduled for January 31, is technically scheduled ahead of when the parties want the exempt states -- Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina -- to hold their contests. To be sure, if Florida were to leave the law alone, those four states would likely move their contests to earlier dates than what the parties desire, but the end result is that Florida holds a tremendous amount of sway over what the eventual primary calendar will look like in 2012. The late state legislative start date in Florida, then, means that many states will have already missed the window to pre-file or introduce legislation to alter the section of state election laws concerning presidential primary timing; all before Florida has even opened its legislative session. Other states, like Virginia (another primary state scheduled in violation of the national party rules), will have already brought the gavel down on the 2011 state legislative session by the time Florida starts. In other words, a state could act on 2012 primary timing prior to when the true lynchpin in the process moves (or doesn't move). Now, states in that position are not without options. One way to circumvent that problem is to bring the issue up in a special session; one that is already scheduled or where that isn't the singular issue. The other is to add an amendment for moving the primary date to another piece of legislation as a means of passing it through the legislature. Though another state's actions were not the motivation, this is what happened in Georgia (see Georgia section of that post) during the 2007 session of its General Assembly. Efforts to pass a bill specifically designed to move the date on which the Peach state's presidential primary would be held in 2008 failed, but language accomplishing the same ends was inserted in another bill in the form of an amendment toward the end of the session.

An additional factor to note is that the above discussion only accounts for those states in violation of the national party rules; those states, again, that would technically require action to come into compliance. What it does not account for are those states currently in compliance with those rules that may choose to challenge and thus violate them. The bill that has been pre-filed in Texas is an example of this.

Let us also recall that the Republican nomination contest, as the likely only competitive one, will be where all of this matters most. First of all, the Republican rules governing the 2012 nomination process provide only one penalty for states that choose to violate the timing rule: one half of their delegation to the national convention. This was not enough of a penalty to prevent all those 2008 states with contests prior to February (New Hampshire and South Carolina included) from rolling the dice. Florida and others may choose influence over delegates again in 2012. Of course, some have speculated that since the Republican National Convention is in Tampa, Florida Republicans may desire having a full delegation at a convention they are hosting. For other states (and even Florida for that matter), it remains an open question.

Regardless of all of that, state legislatures will convene mostly over the next few weeks and will continue to do so throughout the first third of 2011. That is when the work to shape the 2012 presidential primary calendar will truly commence and is something we here at FHQ will be watching closely.

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Sunday, January 2, 2011

The 2012-2020 Electoral College Map

[Click to Enlarge]

In view of the fact that the Census Bureau released its population numbers prior to the holidays, FHQ needs to issue a clerical change to its 2012 electoral college map; shifting from projection to reality. Not to beat a dead horse, but the take away is that the population in the purple to bluish states in the Rust Belt and northeast grew at a much slower rate (Michigan lost population) than red states in the southeast and purple to reddish states in the southwest. The seats in Congress shift accordingly. And while that appears to hypothetically swell the ranks of the GOP not only in the House but in the electoral college tally as well, that growth may be muted even in light of the gains the Republican Party made at the state legislative level in the 2010 midterm elections.

There was only a six electoral vote shift using the 2008 election results and the newly reapportioned map. Obama would have won 359-179 as opposed to 365-173. And the question remains whether Republicans at the state level will solidify through redistricting what they have in terms of current House districts or attempt to squeeze a few more seats out of the process while potentially opening the door to future electoral vulnerability in those races. We'll likely see a little bit of both strategies employed with the net effect that the GOP makes gains but not the extent that some of the doomsday scenarios that made the rounds following the 2010 "shellacking".

We'll have more tomorrow on the impact of these changes on the electoral college in 2012 and beyond, but for now the new map (especially in the sidebar for reference) will suffice.

UPDATE: Here's a look at the 2008 results using the 2012-2020 electoral college along with the electoral college spectrum and a look at the potential battleground states for 2012.

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Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year

FHQ wants to wish all out there a happy new year. From our perspective, 2011 should bring plenty to talk about from state legislatures and state parties positioning their primaries and caucuses (or failing to do so) for the 2012 presidential nomination cycle.

Here's to a bright new year!

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Thursday, December 30, 2010

Really, Seriously!?! New Hampshire Wants to Keep Its First in the Nation Primary Status?

Well, that's news to FHQ. Have they done this before?

Actually, this is a post (at least in part) that FHQ put together last January when the General Court in New Hampshire was tweaking the election law regarding the timing of its presidential primary. It has been sitting in the queue for a year for some reason; probably because it perfectly proves the point that the "warning" that the Granite state will protect its position really is not all that newsworthy.

Well, it is (...around these parts). And The Union Leader's John DiStaso is absolutely right in saying that New Hampshirites on the Democratic Change Commission and on the Rules and Bylaws Committee were awfully quiet when it came time to vote on the delegate selection rules for 2012. They knew the proposed four day window between New Hampshire and Nevada would be in violation of the state law. In my own personal experience at the Change Commission's May meeting, Ray Buckley, chair of the New Hampshire Democratic Party and committeeman, uttered nary a word about this conflict.

FHQ remains neutral in these things (the pros and cons of New Hampshire's privileged position -- Hey, I just research this stuff.), but one would have to see right off that the powers-that-be in the Granite state would stand up to defend their turf as they see it. If they allow the law's enforcement to be fudged in any way, the state becomes vulnerable to challenges in future presidential nomination cycles.

That said, New Hampshire did let the law enforcement slide somewhat in 2008. That seven day window applies on either side of the primary in New Hampshire -- before and after. Given how Iowa and New Hampshire decided to adhere to the unwritten rule that no contest should take place outside of the election year, both contests ended up compressed in a six day period between January 3 and January 8, 2008. [Notice that no one is mentioning the Wyoming Republican caucuses on January 5, still.] This was likely the motivation for the law change last January (described below in the text from the unpublished post); to codify an exemption for Iowa. In other words, there is some room for ex post facto maneuvering.

...but it is dangerous (from the perspective of the Granite state) and New Hampshire will never do anything to jeopardize its position. The key in all of this is that New Hampshire secretary of state, Bill Gardner holds all the power. The state is able to avoid any partisan squabbles in the General Court because the decision on the timing of the primary bypasses the legislature altogether and is in the secretary of state's hands. New Hampshire is much better equipped to move at the last minute than any other state.

Unpublished Post from January 8, 2010:

From the AP:
CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — New Hampshire lawmakers hope to end any doubt about the state's intent to continue holding the first presidential primary.

The state House is voting Wednesday on whether to give the secretary of state wider latitude in setting the primary date. That would help protect the state's tradition of being first.

State Rep. Jim Splaine is sponsoring the bill. The measure will go to the Senate if the House approves it and is widely expected to become law.
Maddeningly limited in the scope of its information, isn't it?

The details of the changes in Rep. Jim Splaine's bill (HB 341) before the New Hampshire House of Representatives are below. As it is under current law, the New Hampshire secretary of state has the ability to set the date of the Granite state's presidential primary, and that law requires that the primary be at least a week before any other similar contest.

The change?

Actually, this is the same bill that Splaine introduced during the 2009 legislative session and it just carried over to 2010. Here's what we had to say about the General Court's efforts during the early spring of 2009:

The bottom line is that when the legislature makes a change to the law concerning the presidential primary, it is typically couched in terms of 1) a change in the duties of the secretary of state on the matter and 2) to protect the state's position in the nomination process. And that's what they've done with the law below.

Here's is the New Hampshire law as it stands now:
"Presidential Primary Election. The presidential primary election shall be held on the second Tuesday in March or on a date selected by the secretary of state which is 7 days or more immediately preceding the date on which any other state shall hold a similar election whichever is earlier, of each year when a president of the United States is to be elected or the year previous. Said primary shall be held in connection with the regular March town meeting or election or, if held on any other day, at a special election called by the secretary of state for that purpose."
The real meat and potatoes here is the seven day cushion that New Hampshire requires between its primary and any other "similar election." Similar election has usually meant another primary, but the Democratic Party's rules for delegate selection initially placed the Nevada caucuses in between Iowa and New Hampshire and raised the issue of other states' caucuses challenging New Hampshire's primacy. The changes called for in HB 341 take care of that, though (Changes in Bold):
"Presidential Primary Election. The presidential primary election shall be held on the second Tuesday in March or on a date selected by the secretary of state which is 7 days or more immediately preceding the date on which any other state shall hold a similar election, or holds a caucus or in the interpretation of the secretary of state holds any contest at which delegates are chosen for the national conventions, whichever is earlier, of each year when a president of the United States is to be elected or the year previous. Said primary shall be held in connection with the regular March town meeting or election or, if held on any other day, at a special election called by the secretary of state for that purpose. Any caucus of a state first held before 1975 shall not be affected by this provision."
Seven day cushion? Check.

Protection from interloping caucuses? Check.

Exception for Iowa? Check.

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Monday, December 20, 2010

The 2012 Presidential Primary Calendar (12/20/10)

With the Nevada GOP's action last week -- setting the date of the party's 2012 presidential caucuses -- the big board is in need of an update. Here again are the guidelines for reading the calendar from the last update from June:
  1. Caucus states are italicized while primary states are not. Several caucus states are missing from the list because they have not formalized the date on which their contests will be held in 2012. Colorado appears because the caucuses dates there are set by the state, whereas a state like Alaska has caucuses run by the state parties and as such do not have their dates codified in state law.
  2. States that have changed dates appear twice (or more) on the calendar; once by the old date and once by the new date. The old date will be struck through while the new date will be color-coded with the amount of movement (in days) in parentheses. States in green are states that have moved to earlier dates on the calendar and states in red are those that have moved to later dates. Arkansas, for example, has moved its 2012 primary and moved it back 104 days from its 2008 position.
2012 Presidential Primary Calendar

Monday, January 16, 2012: Iowa caucuses*

Tuesday, January 24
: New Hampshire*

Saturday, January 28: Nevada caucuses*, South Carolina*

A note on the placement of Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina.

Tuesday, January 31
: Florida

Tuesday, February 7 (Super Tuesday): Alabama, Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Illinois, Missouri, Montana Republican caucuses, New Jersey, New York, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Utah

Saturday, February 11: Louisiana

Tuesday, February 14: Maryland, Virginia

Saturday, February 18: Nevada Republican caucuses (-28)

Tuesday, February 21: Hawaii Republican caucuses (+87), Wisconsin

Tuesday, February 28: Arizona**, Michigan***

Tuesday, March 6: Massachusetts***, Ohio, Rhode Island, Texas, Vermont

Tuesday, March 13: Mississippi

Tuesday, March 20: Colorado caucuses****, Illinois (-42)

Tuesday, April 24: Pennsylvania

Tuesday, May 8: Indiana, North Carolina and West Virginia

Tuesday, May 15: Nebraska, Oregon

Tuesday, May 22: Arkansas (-104), Idaho, Kentucky

Tuesday, June 5: Montana (GOP -119), New Mexico***** and South Dakota

*New Hampshire law calls for the Granite state to hold a primary on the second Tuesday of March or seven days prior to any other similar election, whichever is earlier. Florida is first now, so New Hampshire would be a week earlier at the latest. Traditionally, Iowa has gone on the Monday a week prior to New Hampshire. For the time being we'll wedge South Carolina in on the Saturday between New Hampshire and Florida, but these are just guesses at the moment. Any rogue states could cause a shift.

**In Arizona the governor can use his or her proclamation powers to move the state's primary to a date on which the event would have an impact on the nomination. In 2004 and 2008 the primary was moved to the first Tuesday in February.

***Massachusetts and Michigan are the only states that passed a frontloading bill prior to 2008 that was not permanent. The Bay state reverts to its first Tuesday in March date in 2012 while Michigan will fall back to the fourth Tuesday in February.

****The Colorado Democratic and Republican parties have the option to move their caucuses from the third Tuesday in March to the first Tuesday in February.

*****The law in New Mexico allows the parties to decide when to hold their nominating contests. The Democrats have gone in early February in the last two cycles, but the GOP has held steady in June. They have the option of moving however.

1. Since the Nevada caucuses on both sides of the aisle are given a privileged position -- ahead of the window in which all non-exempt states can hold delegate selection events -- it is more difficult to tabulate how much change there was/will be between the state's 2008 and 2012 positions. This is also true because the state parties are setting caucus dates and are not subject to laws as in primary states where the date is set in stone. In other words, they have a bit more freedom to choose the dates of their contests. What appears above for Nevada assumes that if the GOP had not chosen the February 18, 2012 date in their meeting last week, the state would have continued to hold mid-January caucus meetings (the third Saturday in January to be precise). As such, the Nevada GOP dropped back by four weeks.

2. There are still 18 non-exempt states (between Florida and Arizona/Michigan on the calendar above) that will have to shift the dates on which their primaries are held to come into compliance with the both national parties' sets of rules governing delegate selection. These states continue to be the ones to watch once state legislatures convene in early 2011.

3. You can read more on the potential calendar movement in Molly Ball's article at Politico. You might even see a comment or two from yours truly in there somewhere.

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Thursday, December 16, 2010

Nevada GOP Sets 2012 Presidential Caucuses Date

From Politico:
"The Nevada Republican Executive Committee voted Wednesday to hold the party's 2012 presidential caucus on February 18, a decision that could make GOP voters in the "First in the West" state third in line to vote for their party's next nominee."
The February 18, 2012 date for the Republican caucuses in the Silver state is aligned with where the Democratic Rules and Bylaws Committee had Nevada slated on their calendar for the Democratic nomination. I'm less surprised by the setting of the date than I am by the timing of it all. The Nevada Republican Party is not taking the wait-and-see approach that Iowa and New Hampshire (or even South Carolina Republicans) typically take for setting the dates on which their delegate selection events are held. Those states let all the other states that are going to move make their moves and then react. For various reasons -- the state parties, not state legislatures, control the date setting power in Iowa and South Carolina and the New Hampshire secretary of state holds that power in the Granite state -- those earliest of states are better able to move than other states. Of course, it helps to get an exemption from the national parties as well. The Nevada Republican Party is acting as if it does not have that privilege by setting their caucuses date this early in the 2012 cycle.

There is precedence for this, however. Nevada Republicans moved their first round contests to February 2008 (basically where they were in 2004) in March 2007, but quickly changed that a month later to align their contest with the January 19 timing of the Nevada Democratic caucuses. Again, without having to filter this date-setting decision through the state government -- state legislature and governor -- state parties have much more leeway to shift the dates on which their, typically, caucuses are held. They can revisit the date with much more freedom than the state governmental apparatus.

That isn't to say that Nevada will or won't move again ahead of 2012, but until some other states, especially those eighteen February states* that have to change their state laws to come into compliance with the new national party rules, make a move, an asterisk should be placed next to Nevada for now. FHQ will use pencil for the moment. Once the state legislatures begin convening next and start addressing this issue, we can maybe shift to chiseling it into stone for 2012.

*That count includes one primary currently scheduled for January, Florida.

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