Friday, March 28, 2014

A Step Closer to a March Presidential Primary in Missouri

The Missouri state Senate Financial and Governmental Organizations and Elections Committee on March 26 gave the green light to a substitute version of a bill that would shift the Show Me state presidential primary out of February, into compliance with national party rules. More importantly, the timing discrepancy that existed between the House version of the bill (HB1902) and the Senate version (SB 892) was reconciled by the committee amendments to the Senate bill.

Now, both the Senate and House bills call for moving the primary from the first Tuesday after the first Monday in February to the first Tuesday after the second Tuesday in March. That would place the Missouri presidential primary on March 15, 2016. The move would not only bring the state back into compliance with the timing rules put in place by both national parties, but would also allow Missouri Republicans to protect their traditional winner-take-all allocation of delegates. March 15 is the first date in 2016 on which Republican state parties can allocate delegates in a winner-take-all fashion according to the RNC delegate selection rules.

The Senate bill now heads to the floor for consideration next week while the House version (...has passed the House and...) has been referred to and will be considered by the same Senate committee that just granted the exact same language -- in the Senate version -- a "Do Pass" designation.

While this is a positive move in terms of moving the primary into compliance with the national party rules, it should be noted that legislation has reached this stage before and failed in the Missouri General Assembly. Floor debates and inter-chamber divides have derailed similar legislation several times since 2011.

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