Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Update on 2016 DC Presidential Primary: Off to June

Just before the holidays, the Washington, DC District Council voted unanimously to shift the presidential primary in the District from April to June.

As FHQ noted at the time, the 2013 bill then moved on to lame duck Mayor Vincent Gray for his consideration. However, given that the bill was passed unanimously there was no utility in issuing a veto on a bill that would be overridden by the council. Regardless, B20-0265 -- the primary bill -- was never signed into law. But the DC system does not require a signature anyway. The mayor has three options when confronted with a bill from the council: sign the bill, do nothing or veto the bill. In the case of the first two actions, the bill becomes law.

Council Period 20 (2013-2015) came to a close at the end of 2014 and there is no evidence that a mayoral veto was issued on the June primary legislation. It thus becomes law, moving the DC presidential primary from the first Tuesday in April to the first Tuesday in June. That moves DC from a point on the calendar just beyond the 50% delegates allocate threshold to the very last week of the calendar. The move also breaks up any lasting remnants of the 2008 Potomac primary (DC, Virginia and Maryland). Washington, DC and Maryland were concurrent again in 2012, but that coalition will not survive to 2016.

The bill does have to go before Congress for review -- as all DC legislation does -- but if there is no review or no disapproval from the House of Representatives within a 30 day window, the bill becomes an act and is law.

FHQ will keep the Washington, DC primary on the first Tuesday in April for now, but that will change to June when and if this becomes an act.

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