Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Utah Presidential Primary Move to February or March Unlikely

Robert Gehrke at the Salt Lake Tribune has reported that a plan to set aside Utah state funds to move the Beehive state presidential primary from June to February or March appears dead. The idea to move the primary to an earlier date to potentially aid Mitt Romney's candidacy gathered steam in June after the state Republican Party opted to link the Utah Republican delegate allocation to the late June primary for state and local offices.1 That followed the state legislature's refusal to allocate the necessary funds to hold a presidential primary in the budget bill considered during the winter session of the legislature.

The effort to appropriate the $3 million for the election was an uphill climb among the Republican majority in the winter and appears to be equally daunting ahead of an upcoming special session. This is even more clear when the bearer of the news was the Senate president -- and Romney supporter -- Michael Waddoups. The prognosis was no better in the House:
During a House GOP caucus Wednesday, Rep. David Clark, R-Santa Clara, asked if the state was going to stick with the June date, and House Speaker Becky Lockhart, R-Provo, responded that is the plan. 
"So we’re back to the same flyover status we had before," Clark said.
Utah, then, will bring up the rear of the 2012 presidential primary calendar with a June 26 primary.

1 It should be noted that the same financial concerns about such a move were raised nearly as soon as the early primary proposal story broke. If steam gathered, then, it quickly dissipated.

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