Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Companion Minnesota House Bill Would Also Reestablish Presidential Primary

Toward the end of February, legislation was introduced in the Minnesota state Senate to reestablish a presidential primary in the North Star state. At the time there was no companion bill to SF 1205 from the state House. That changed last week when Rep. Joe Hoppe (R-47B, Chaska) introduced HF 1567. The House version is identical to the Senate version.

That said, it seems far-fetched that either version will move through the legislature and be signed into law. Even before one considers the partisan divide in the Minnesota legislature -- Democrats control the Senate and Republicans have a majority in the House -- and the potential that has to derail a possible adoption of a primary, the bigger roadblock seems to be the state parties. The Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party and the Minnesota Republican Party have already agreed to a date for 2016 caucuses as called for by state law. The parties would have to opt out of the March 1 caucuses they have agreed upon and opt into the proposed March 29 primary (if it is established).

The chairman of the Minnesota Republican Party has already thrown cold water on that idea. That may or may not deter further action on either of these bills in the legislature. Democrats in the state party and the legislature have been silent on the matter and hold veto power over the bill becoming law anyway by controlling the state Senate and the governor's mansion.

Minnesota last held a presidential primary in 1992.

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