Saturday, January 21, 2023

Alternative Bill Would Schedule New York Presidential Primary for April

An alternative proposal for scheduling the 2024 presidential primary has been introduced in the New York state Assembly. 

Rather than merge the presidential primary in late June with the primaries for other state offices, A 1720, offered by Assemblyman Andy Goodell (R-150th, Jamestown), would keep the two sets of primaries distinct. The new legislation would push the primaries for state office to the second Tuesday in August, consolidating them with the congressional primaries. The presidential primary, on the other hand, would shift into a position that has become customary for New York in recent cycles, the fourth Tuesday in April. With the exception of the 2016 cycle, the presidential primary in the Empire state has ended up, or was before the pandemic, initially planned for the fourth Tuesday in April as part of a contiguous group of contests for the last three cycles.1 

Like the other legislation, A 1720 would reduce the number of primaries in New York in presidential years from three to two. But unlike the other proposal, Goodell's consolidates two sets of primaries that can go a little later in the electoral cycle, the congressional primary and those for state offices. Moreover, the presidential primary is scheduled for April, a point on the calendar that is within the national party rules-defined window. The other active legislation this session would place the New York presidential primary in late June, out of compliance with the rules. 

Again, the regular protocol in New York over the last several cycles has been for the state parties to consult with legislators and devise legislation later in the spring (of the year prior to the presidential election) that outlines not only the date of the presidential primary but how delegates will be allocated in both parties' processes. One of the three bills introduced thus far in 2023 may or may not ultimately be a vehicle for legislation that fits in with the previous pattern. But only this most recent bill is compliant with national party rules in its introduced form. 

Note: Goodell sponsored similar legislation during the 2021-22 session. That legislation died in committee at the conclusion of 2022.

This legislation has been added to the updated 2024 presidential primary calendar

1 And in 2016, the New York presidential primary was just a week earlier on April 19, a date on which it was the only contest. No, that is not a significantly different position on the calendar, but the primary was not a part of the northeastern/mid-Atlantic regional primary that developed in 2012 and has been a part of every calendar since.


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