Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Housekeeping: Caucuses for Both Nevada Parties Moved Back

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The major political parties in Nevada over the weekend opted to shift back the dates of their presidential caucuses. Both the Democratic and Republican parties in the Silver state moved back from the January 14 date each settled on earlier this month. The Nevada Republican State Central Committee voted in a Las Vegas meeting on Saturday, October 22 to move the caucuses back beyond the Florida presidential primary on January 31 to a Saturday, February 4 date. The move, triggered by pressure not only from Iowa and New Hampshire, but the RNC as well, splits Nevada Republicans off from the other three "carve out" states -- Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina -- in January. But that allows the party to remain compliant with Republican National Committee rules restricting those four states to February dates. Florida fell on the Tuesday before Super Tuesday in 2008 with no contests between it and  the 25+ state logjam on the first Tuesday in February during that cycle. Assuming the Republican candidates pay attention to the Nevada caucuses, the contest does stand some chance of either piggybacking on the result in Florida or directly rebutting it.

Nevada Democrats -- with nothing on the line (There is no active nomination race in the Democratic Party) -- opted to maintain a position ahead of Florida along with Iowa and New Hampshire at the front of the line in January. Nevada Democrats will hold January 21 caucuses; just a week later than the date the party moved to last week in an effort to show Silver state solidarity with its Republican counterparts.

Find the updated dates in the 2012 presidential primary calendar.

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astrojob said...

I'm wondering what your thoughts are on the news that Florida's primary will be WTA, and that the RNC itself approves(!).


Does this mean that the proportionality rules for early states, weak as they already were, are out the window? Or is it just that the RNC has no mechanism for punishing states that defy the proportionality rules beyond the 50% delegate penalty, which they're already imposing on Florida anyway?

Josh Putnam said...

I'm waiting to hear back from the Republican Party of Florida on this. The reporting on these rules broadly has been so bad -- not all of it but most -- that I am extremely wary of commenting before I see the nature of the rules changes. Florida has been winner take all in the past but that has been split between the statewide and congressional district vote. If the rules are the same as the past, this is a non-story, but if there has been a change to straight WTA, that is fairly significant.

I'll have more later if I hear back from them.

astrojob said...

Even if it's split between statewide and CD, the 2012 RNC rules say that (for a contest held before April 1) the statewide portion has to be proportional, right? If the RNC is now saying that no, we're not even going to enforce that, then that is a story, right?

Josh Putnam said...

A couple of things:
1) Yes, it would be a story, but if the old rules apply, then, post-penalty, we're only talking about 7.5 delegates being allocated proportionally.

2) The other unknown is whether there are any thresholds layered into this that are not being reported -- whether someone receiving over 50% of the vote is entitled to all of the delegates or if candidates have to clear 20% to receive any delegates.

The bottom line is that I'm not at all sure that we are getting a very clear picture about the Florida delegate allocation. Without that I can't definitely say whether the RNC is bending, breaking or following/enforcing its rules.