Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Funding for the Idaho Presidential Primary "Slipped Through the Cracks"

Just when it looked like both Idaho parties would use the presidential primary election in 2020...

...came this news from Betsy Z. Russell at the Idaho Press:
Idaho Secretary of State Lawerence Denney forgot to budget for the 2020 presidential primary, creating an unpleasant $2 million surprise for legislative budget writers who set his office’s budget on Wednesday. 
The Legislature’s Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee had already set all but 4 percent of the state’s general fund budget for next year, working through it agency by agency over the past month, when Denney’s came up with a $2 million hole in it.
This is atypical. Usually if there is a funding issue with a presidential primary, it something that is initiated by the secretary of state or state legislature to save funds in a given state. Washington state, for example canceled its presidential primary during the 2012 cycle to cut back on expenditures and states like Alabama, California and New Jersey consolidated separate presidential primaries in the same cycle with the same intent.

But forgetting the appropriation entirely is a different matter. That is a new one to FHQ. But in Secretary Denney's defense, he is right that the appropriation for the 2016 primary was included in a parallel bill to the legislation to reestablish the presidential primary in the Gem state and not in the funding package. If one starts a new legislative year with the items in the appropriation package the session before, then something funded outside the main appropriations bill can potentially get lost in the shuffle.


What is at least somewhat noteworthy about all of this is that Idaho Democrats came to the conclusion last summer to utilize the primary in lieu of caucuses during the 2020 cycle and have already made plans -- via their draft delegate selection plan -- to do just that.

This will likely get worked out, but it is not a snafu that is all that common.

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