Saturday, January 28, 2012

One More Last Ditch Effort to Cancel the 2012 Missouri Presidential Primary

Earlier this month in the Missouri state House yet another bill was introduced dealing with the Show Me state presidential primary. As FHQ documented throughout 2011, the process of moving, not moving and then attempting to eliminate the state's presidential primary was nothing short of a roller coaster ride. I'll spare everyone the details -- If you want to catch up just click on the Missouri label below. -- but once the writing was on the wall and it was apparent that the legislature would be unable to shift the presidential primary into a RNC-compliant date on the primary calendar, the Missouri Republican Party switched from the primary to a later and compliant caucus in mid-March.

That move by Missouri Republicans partially stripped the February 7 primary of its significance, and at least to some extent, removed any need to hold the contest at all. That was why there was some effort at the end of he 2011 special session to cancel the primary (in addition to trying to move it). The rationale is simple: Why fund a contest that is not even going to be used? [I'll get back to that in a moment.]

That rationale has, now that the Missouri General Assembly has reconvened for 2012, worked its way back into the legislative process. Representative Mark Parkinson (R-16th) introduced HB 1183 to cancel the 2012 presidential primary and save the state of Missouri the money needed to conduct the election. There are a few things that will hinder any action on the bill, however. First of all, the bill was introduced on January 5 and referred to committee four days later. In addition to that lack of legislative momentum -- much less urgency -- time is running short before the February 7 primary. Finally, and this gets back to the question above, the Missouri Democratic Party is actually utilizing the February primary as a means of beginning its delegate selection process. Even if Republicans could get this legislation through the two chambers, it would never get past Governor Jay Nixon (D).

Last ditch effort? Yes. Going anywhere? Not any time soon. Republicans will have a non-binding primary and Democrats in the state will have a non-competitive primary on February 7.

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