Saturday, April 28, 2007

Florida Moves Closer to Jan. 29

On Friday the Florida Senate passed HB 537 which plans to move the state's 2008 presidential primary to January 29. This moves Florida into position with Georgia and Tennessee as states where frontloading proposals have passed the legislature and are awaiting the signature of the governor. The plan would also move the primary to the same date on which the Democratic primary in South Carolina is scheduled to occur; one week after New Hampshire and one week before the twenty plus state primary day on February 5.

Florida now becomes the biggest state so far to test the windows both parties have set as the time during which primaries can be held. February 5 is the earliest date that non-exempt states can hold primaries. For 2008, New Hampshire and Iowa are obviously exempt in both parties and Nevada and South Carolina are on the Democratic side. Violating the window rules set forth by the parties carries sanctions whereby delegations from offending states would be penalized some or all of their delegates. As I've mentioned several times, several state legislators and state party actors from other states have expressed a feeling that the parties will suspend these rules if violations are widespread. Since the Florida plan anchors the state's primary to the date one week after the New Hampshire primary (whenever it is), it is apparent that the state legislators there value having an influence during the primary process as opposed to the convention phase.

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