Thursday, December 15, 2022

Adjournment Kills Michigan Presidential Primary Bill

In the same week that the DNC Rules and Bylaws Committee (DNCRBC) met and adopted the proposal from President Biden to shuffle the early presidential primary calendar deck, the Michigan state Senate passed legislation that would shift the date of the presidential primary in the Great Lakes state up a month to the second Tuesday in February. 

The two were not directly connected. However, coming out of that week there were lingering questions about whether that bill would serve as a vehicle to move the primary into the position carved out for the state by the DNCRBC rules. There are now answers to those questions.

The outgoing, Republican-controlled Michigan legislature adjourned its lame duck session last week, killing all active legislation not acted upon in the state House and Senate, including the presidential primary bill. But the incoming, Democratic-controlled legislature will likely take up the cause and align the date of the presidential primary with DNC rules on February 27.

With unified Democratic control across the executive and legislative branches in Michigan there will be a bill put forward and likely quickly advanced. But the big question surrounding that effort in 2023 will be what the narrowly divided legislature will do with Republicans. A February 27 date for the presidential primary would conflict with Republican National Committee rules for the timing of delegate selection events. That means Republican legislators in the Great Lakes state will have to use what little leverage they have to advocate for split primaries -- a February 27 Democratic primary and a later, compliant Republican primary -- or face the prospect of having to hold a party-run contest after March 1. 


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