Thursday, February 14, 2019

Small Signal Points Toward an Earlier 2020 New York Presidential Primary

At least one local Democratic elections commissioner is forecasting a February or March presidential primary in the Empire state in 2020. Steuben county commissioner, Kelly Penziul (D) filled in some of the (mostly to be determined) details:
The exception to the single annual primary election date in the state will be for the presidential primaries every four years. The month and date of next year’s presidential primaries are still to be determined, Penziul said. New York’s 2016 presidential primaries were held in April, but the contests are likely to be moved up in 2020.

“That would be like February or March of next year,” Penziul forecast. “We don’t know that date for sure. We might know more by the end of the year.”
Technically, New York has a spring primary to which the presidential primary is tethered scheduled for the first Tuesday in February. But the protocol in the state over the last two cycles (2012 and 2016) has been to decide on a date in the late spring or early summer in the year prior to the presidential election. A presidential primaries date is settled on then, but has also only been determined for the upcoming cycle. A sunset provision has been included in both the 2011 and 2015 laws that set April dates.

That means that the New York presidential primary has snapped back to February for the 2016 and 2020 cycles. And this is the first indication that the state may shift back in the calendar a little less than it has in the recent past. A February date would not be compliant with national party rules, so New York is likely to join the logjam that has already formed in March 2020. But whether that means joining, say, California and Texas on Super Tuesday or carving another spot later in March remains to be seen.

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