Wednesday, January 23, 2013

In Missouri, Legislation to Remove a Major Roadblock to the 2016 Primary Calendar

The biggest threat right now to the intended order of the 2016 presidential primary calendar is now in Arizona, Florida or Michigan. Those states may prove to be the biggest thorns in this side of an order development to the 2016 nomination schedule, but as of right now, Missouri represents the largest threat to a primary calendar that kicks off in late January or early February instead of ringing in the new year.

Yes, Colorado and Minnesota have the first Tuesday in February as potential landing spots for their caucuses, and yes, both those contests under the new RNC rules passed in Tampa would have to be binding (as opposed to glorified straw polls). The Utah primary could also end up on that date, but funding has to be appropriated for that contest by the Utah legislature first. What FHQ means to suggest is that all three of those states have outs or alternative options embedded in their scheduling processes.

Missouri does not.

The Missouri statutes currently call for a presidential primary to be held on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in February. And unless the Missouri general assembly alters the law, the 2016 presidential primary will be held on that date in 2016. That would mean a host of penalties from both parties. Some in the Missouri legislature know this but have been unable to marshall a majority coalition   to pass legislation moving the primary to a later and compliant date. [Well, that's not true. The legislature did pass such a bill in 2011, but included a poison pill affecting gubernatorial nominations that drew a veto from Governor Jay Nixon(D).] In both 2011 and 2012 legislation came before one or both houses of the legislature to shift the date of the presidential primary back to either April or June. The April plan has seemingly gained the most traction. At the very least such plan has come up repeatedly.

Such a bill(s) was introduced and died in 2011. Another was introduced and died in 2012. Now, back for a third go-round, another bill (HB 127) has been introduced by Representative Chrissy Sommer (R-106th, St. Charles) to move the presidential primary from early February to early April to coincide with the general municipal elections that take place on the same date. As FHQ mentioned throughout 2011, in the current economic climate, finding a landing place for a primary that is concurrent with other elections is attractive to legislators from a fiscal standpoint in that it helps reduce the number of elections and thus the total budgetary hit elections cause.

The Missouri legislature did act early with 2004 in mind; passing legislation to move to its current February position during 2002, but this is still a little early for 2016 calendar activity. Still, Missouri will be -- barring action taken in other states before then -- public enemy number one in the eyes of the parties heading into 2015 if something is not done regarding the Show Me state presidential primary before then.

Are you following FHQ on TwitterGoogle+ and Facebook? Click on the links to join in.

No comments: