Tuesday, July 11, 2023

Nevada GOP Primary/Caucus Lawsuit Shot Down in Carson City

Invisible Primary: Visible -- Thoughts on the invisible primary and links to the goings on of the moment as 2024 approaches...

First, over at FHQ Plus...
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In Invisible Primary: Visible today...
The Nevada Independent has the latest on the Nevada Republican Party effort to end the newly established presidential primary in the Silver state:
"A Carson City judge has denied a motion by the Nevada Republican Party to block the state from holding a presidential primary election next year in favor of a caucus.

"Judge James Russell issued the ruling from the bench Monday, denying the state party’s lawsuit filed in May challenging a 2021 law moving the state away from a presidential caucus to a primary election."
And NVGOP Chair Michael McDonald indicated late Monday that the party is "prepared for a long fight." But the question continues to be why? The lawsuit and any prolonged legal battle over the primary are entirely unnecessary

Don't want the primary? Don't use it. [Nevada Republicans retain the right to opt out of the state-run presidential primary.]

Don't want a Republican primary at all? Don't have the candidates file for it. [The quickest and easiest route out of the primary and to the caucuses that the state party apparently wants is to encourage candidates who actually want delegates from the state to file for the party-run caucuses and not the primary. There will only be a Nevada Republican presidential primary if more than one candidate files with the state.]

The bigger news than the inevitable flop of the lawsuit in the Silver state is confirmation that the Nevada Republican Party intends to hold caucuses in 2024. The lawsuit suggested that that was the case, but the party never really came out and said that. They did over the weekend via their spokesperson in a CNN piece about the Iowa caucuses date. And Chair McDonald further confirmed that intention in his comments on Monday to The Nevada Independent:
McDonald added that the party still intends to hold a caucus in February to allocate the state’s presidential delegates, and is now seeking to avert a state-run primary election to avoid confusing voters and prevent a “huge waste of taxpayer money.”
The question is where on the calendar do these proposed Nevada Republican caucuses end up? Saturday, February 10 -- after the state-run primary -- is a likely destination. That would carve out a spot for the caucuses a little more than two weeks after the (still unsettled but increasingly likely) January 23 New Hampshire primary and two weeks before the South Carolina Republican primary. 

Yes, it was inevitable that Republicans would try to use the Democratic National Committee calendar changes against Democrats in Iowa and New Hampshire. The candidates have been quick to do that in the Granite state. And New Hampshire Democrats are fretting about what that portends for the general election. 

The concern? According to The Messenger, independent voters venturing over to the Republican primary and staying with the party in the fall.
The concern from some New Hampshire Democrats is that independent voters will participate in a more crowded and important GOP primary over the Democratic contest, then stick with the GOP in the general election.

“My biggest fear is that if they become invested in participating in the Republican primary, it's going to be much more difficult to pull them back over for the general election,” said Jim Demers, the state’s former House Democratic Whip. “That’s something we’ve never had to deal with before.”
But the thing is that most of the independents lean toward one party or the other and will behave that way in the general election regardless of the primary in which they opt to participate. However, might that matter if the pure independents opt for the competitive Republican primary in January next year and stick with the Republican nominee in November? It could if Biden dips below his seven point margin in New Hampshire from 2020 in 2024. 

Of course, New Hampshire Democrats have been making this argument since December. Here is what FHQ said then...
Furthermore, they argue that those same independents may stick with the GOP in a general election, potentially tipping the balance against Democrats in a narrowly divided state, and by extension, possibly costing the party Senate control and/or electoral votes.

All of that is true. Those things could happen. But it could also be that President Biden seeks reelection, ends up running largely unopposed, and New Hampshire independents flock to the competitive Republican presidential primary anyway. Is it a gamble for the president and the DNC to potentially irk a sliver to a lot of New Hampshire voters by coming down hard on the state Democratic Party for fighting to maintain its traditional position? It undoubtedly would be if it is not already. But are independents, Democratic-leaning or otherwise, going to vote for a Republican nominee in the Trump mold (or Trump himself) over Biden because of the primary? The answer is maybe (or if one is in New Hampshire, YES!). But that seems to be a gamble the president and those around him are willing to take in this fight. There are very few scenarios where New Hampshire's four electoral votes serve as the tipping point in the electoral college. It is possible although less probable than other, bigger states. And neither New Hampshire US Senate seat is up until 2026. Is that gamble worth it? Time will tell that tale.
The bottom line is that this New Hampshire thing is going to go on for a while with the DNC. And Republicans will try to use that against Democrats in the Granite state. But the battle is over a decreasingly small sliver of pure independents.

From around the invisible primary...

On this date...
...in 2020, Louisiana held its twice-delayed presidential primary. Biden and Trump won in their respective contests.

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