Saturday, April 22, 2023

From FHQ Plus: Calendar Foreshadowing in New York

The following is a cross-posted excerpt from FHQ Plus, FHQ's new subscription service. Come check the rest out and consider a paid subscription to support our work. 


One of the missing pieces of the 2024 presidential primary calendar is the primary in the Empire state. And the major reason for that is the standard protocol for scheduling the election every cycle dating back to 2012. Basically some variation of the following has taken place every cycle since the New York legislature moved the presidential primary — the “spring primary” — to February for 2008. 

  1. Faced with a noncompliant primary, the New York legislature some time in the late spring sets the parameters of the next year’s presidential primary, including the date, method of delegate allocation, etc.

  2. At the end of the presidential election year, the date of the primary — typically in April in 2012-20 period — reverts to the noncompliant February position it had to begin with.

  3. The process starts anew for the next cycle.

In the 2024 cycle, New York is stuck somewhere in step one above: saddled with a February presidential primary date that no one with decision-making power over the date of the primary intends to keep. 

But that does not mean that there have not been hints about where the thinking is in the Empire state with respect to the primary date for 2024. Those hints, however, have not come from the legislature as of yet nor even from inside the state to this point. Instead, there has been talk of concurrent Connecticut and New York primaries in early April during a committee hearing concerning a bill to reschedule the presidential primary date in the Nutmeg state. And there was another mention of a cluster of contests involving Connecticut, New York and Rhode Island on the same April 2 date for 2024 in the draft delegate selection plan (DSP) of Ocean state Democrats. 

Now, there are further indications that actors actually in New York are targeting April 2. Quietly last week, the New York Democratic Party posted for public comment its draft delegate selection plan for the upcoming cycle. And in it were details of a presidential primary to take place on April 2, 2024. That is likely more than merely aspirational. The same basic pattern occurred four years ago when the 2020 draft delegate selection plan foreshadowed the legislative change to come in Albany.

And legislative action is still required in this instance. It just is unlikely to occur before June (if recent cycles are any indication). There are currently three bills dealing with the scheduling of the presidential primary already introduced in the New York Assembly or Senate, but none of them are necessarily candidates to be vehicles for the sort of change called for in the Democrats’ delegate selection plan. Sure, all three could be amended, but it has been standard for a clean bill with details of not just the timing of the presidential primary but the preferred delegate allocation method of each of the parties to be included in the introduced legislation.

That is likely still a ways off, but this is one more clue that New York is going to have a primary cluster with Connecticut and Rhode Island on April 2. And Hawaii and Missouri could be there too.


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