Showing posts with label Potomac Primary. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Potomac Primary. Show all posts

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

More on the Possible Mid-Atlantic Primary

FHQ is late to this, but we did want to document what happened late last week with the development of the so-called Mid-Atlantic Primary that would coordinate the primaries in Delaware, Maryland and Washington DC. Maryland and DC are moving ahead with plans to shift their respective primaries to the first Tuesday in April, but as of now, despite the mentions of it in press reports on what is happening in both Maryland and DC,1 Delaware has remained quiet. Now, that doesn't mean that nothing is going on in the First state, but the progress on moving the presidential primary date there is lagging compared to their neighbors to the south.

And really there was no direct mention of either Delaware or DC in the testimony from Linda Lamone from the State Board of Elections last week in the hearings (March 16, 2011) on the state Senate bills before the Education, Health and Environmental Affairs Committee last Wednesday. There was instead talk of coordination with other, unnamed states and an overwhelming sense -- given the comments from the committee -- that the bipartisan support behind the move to April among the Maryland Senate leadership (SB 820) trumped the alternative bill (SB 501) to move the date to the first Tuesday in March. Meanwhile, the state House bill (HB 671) to move the presidential primary to April -- having had a similar hearing the week before -- was reported favorably from the House Ways and Means Committee and is on its way to being voted on soon after a second reading on the floor.

In Washington, the story is similar. An amended version of the introduced bill to change the dates of the presidential primary and that for local primaries in the District as well emerged from committee and received its first reading and vote last Tuesday. The 10-2 vote on the 13 member Council is indicative of the level of support the bill (B19-0090) has on the Council. The bill would now move those primaries to the first Tuesday in April as opposed to the second Tuesday after the first Monday in June.

And now Delaware the nation tuns its lonely eyes to you.

Maryland political leaders, including U.S. House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer, have been coordinating with Delaware and D.C. to hold their presidential primaries on the same day, to gain more national recognition, [Gov. O'Malley's lobbyist, Stacy] Mayer said. No agreement has been reached yet, she said.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Goodbye Potomac Primary. Hello Mid-Atlantic Primary?

The D.C. Council moved forward with a bill Tuesday to set the presidential and local primary for the first Tuesday in April 2012.

There's one more vote on the bill before it becomes final. On Tuesday, as they discussed the bill, several councilmembers raised the idea of teaming up with Maryland and Delaware to hold their primaries on the same day. And a potential "Mid-Atlantic Primary" is not beyond reach: Both Maryland and Delaware are considering the first Tuesday in April as well.

There are hearings this week in the Maryland Senate over the two competing bills there to move the Old Line state's primary back to the first Tuesday in either March or April. The latter seemingly has more institutional support. That in conjunction with what is happening with the DC Council appears to put some movement behind the idea of an early April primary for Maryland and DC. But this Delaware twist is a new one. There may have been some interstate discussions between Democratic Party officials on the state party level, but that has yet to materialize in Delaware in the form of legislation to alter the date on which the First state's primary is held. That said, as FHQ mentioned a couple of weeks ago, we are right around the same time period in the cycle in which the Delaware legislature proposed legislation to move the primary ahead of the 2004 primaries.

The only observation one can take from this subregional cluster is that it lacks -- with Delaware substituting for Virginia -- some of the same punch the Potomac primary had in terms of delegates at stake in 2008. The Democratic bonuses for going in April and as a group will help make up some of that difference. And the state Republican Parties will have the option of allocating delegates on a winner-take-all basis as well. The move, then, is not without merit.


Wednesday, March 2, 2011

A Two-Thirds Potomac Primary? DC Might Try to Align Primary with Maryland

A public hearing today by the DC Board of Elections and Ethics brought another 2012 primary date option there to the fore. Freeman Klopott from the Washington Examiner has more:
"I've taken the temperature of other council members and there seems to be some consensus around April 3," Ward 3 Councilwoman Mary Cheh told The Washington Examiner on Wednesday before a hearing on the city's 2012 primary date. Cheh heads the council committee that has oversight over D.C. elections. "We want to have a vote which serves as a presidential primary and a primary for local candidates," she said.
The options for this one have been all over the place. Early on there was talk of a July primary for local district offices and later when a bill was proposed, the talk shifted to holding concurrent presidential and district primaries in June on the closing date of the window in which the national parties allow states and territories to hold primaries or caucuses. With there being support among the leadership of both parties in both houses in Maryland to move the Old Line state's primary to April, though, and that being the likely destination for the primary there, council members in DC are reconsidering their date again. Both Maryland and DC would benefit from holding later (after March) primaries and, with the Democratic Party, by clustering together as the two did with Virginia in 2008.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Expected House Companion Bill to Move Maryland Primaries Introduced

As was mentioned in the post yesterday about the legislation introduced in the Maryland Senate to move the state's primaries, there was already a placemarker for a House companion bill (HB 671) to SB 820.

As was the case with the Senate bill, the House companion also has the support of the full leadership in the chamber. The bill is sponsored by Speaker of the House Michael Busch (D-30, Anne Arundel County) and co-sponsored by the majority leader, Kumar Barve (D-17, Montgomery County), and the minority leader, Anthony O'Donnell (R-29C, Calvert and St. Mary's Counties). Given the weight of the leadership in both chambers, these bills are more likely to pass than SB 501 and have the effect of moving the presidential primary from the second Tuesday in February to the first Tuesday in April and the primaries for state and local offices from the second Tuesday after the first Monday in September to the last Tuesday in June.

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Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Two Bills to Move Maryland Presidential Primary Back Introduced

There are now two bills that have been introduced in the Maryland Senate to shift the dates on which the Old Line state's primaries for state and local offices will be held. The express purpose of those bills is to move state and local primaries in midterm election years from the second Tuesday after the first Monday in September because it conflicts with the federal mandate in the MOVE act. That mandate requires at least a 45 day cushion between the primary election and the general election to allow for the printing of ballots and timely distribution of them to military and overseas voters. In addition, both bills also move the state's presidential primary from the second Tuesday in February in order to comply with national party rules regarding the timing of delegate selection events.

SB 501 was introduced on February 4 by Senator Roy Dyson (D-29, Calvert, Charles & St. Mary's Counties) and would move the presidential primary from February to the first Tuesday in March -- which would coincide with the plans in fellow Potomac Primary state Virginia. The midterm year primaries would be shifted from September up to the second Tuesday in July.

And just today (February 9) at the request of President of the Senate Thomas Miller (D-27, Calvert & Prince George's Counties), SB820 was introduced (cosponsored by the Majority Leader Robert Garagiola (D-15, Montgomery County) and Minority Leader Nancy Jacobs (R-34, Cecil & Harford Counties)). The bill would move the presidential primary to the first Tuesday in April and the midterm election year primaries for statewide and local offices to the last Tuesday in June. With a House companion (HB 671) on the way and the full bipartisan support of the Senate leadership, this bill would presumably have the better chance of winning passage and making to Governor O'Malley's desk. It also lends some credence to the presidential primary date discussed in the Washington Examiner's piece over the weekend about the potential breaking up of the Potomac Primary.

Still, that first Tuesday in April date is an interesting one. FHQ would speculate that there are a couple of possible reasons for that date. First, one could guess that Maryland legislators are hoping to catch lightning in a bottle for the second consecutive cycle by hoping that a supposed March 6 Super Tuesday proves inconclusive in wrapping up the Republican nomination race. That would leave the Maryland primary in that sparsely populated area of the calendar between early March and the Pennsylvania primary in late April. In the event that happened, Maryland -- along with Mississippi and Illinois -- could prove quite consequential to the Republican race. The other idea that crosses my mind is that this could also be an effort at another regional primary. There has been some chatter about officials in Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania and West Virginia discussing the possibility. And the first Tuesday in April is a date that Pennsylvania has used in the past -- one of the two times the commonwealth moved its presidential primary. At this point, I'm more inclined to put stock in the first option rather than the second. But we'll see. None of those other states have made any moves at the state legislative level on this front as of yet.

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Tuesday, February 8, 2011

"New rules threaten region's 2012 primary clout"

Over the weekend, Freeman Klopott penned a nice piece in the Washington Examiner on the apparent break up of the 2008 Potomoc Primary, the subregional primary the brought the primaries in Washington, DC, Virginia and Maryland together (see full article below). The outcome was attractive enough that the Democratic Change Commission recommended to the Rules and Bylaws Committee that the 2012 Democratic Delegate Selection Rules include some provision that would entice state to hold similar "clustered" contests. From the looks of it, the addition of extra delegates was not enough to keep the model regional primary together for the 2012 cycle. There is still time in the legislative session, but with Virginia already close to moving its primary to March and DC considering a later primary that would coincide with those for state and local offices, it doesn't necessarily look good for the Potomac Primary in 2012.

Regional primaries are difficult to coordinate across states and especially state governments and even when they are successfully managed the initial intention is rarely met. Just ask the southern participants in the Southern Super Tuesday in 1988.


New rules threaten region's 2012 primary clout
by Freeman Klopott, Washington Examiner
New presidential primary rules passed by the Democrat and Republican national committees are busting the bonds that made the 2008 "Potomac Primary" possible and threatening the Washington region's clout in 2012.

In 2008, Virginia, D.C. and Maryland all held their primaries on Feb. 12. It was just one week after "Super Tuesday," when 24 states voted on presidential candidates. But there were no clear front-runners for the party nominations following the Feb. 5 votes, and the Washington region became key for Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. Forming the Potomac Primary guaranteed the Washington region electoral pull.

"We'd like to have a regional primary again to help make sure we remain important to the candidates," said David Meadows, executive director of the D.C. Democratic Committee.

But "right now both parties have coordinated what they want to do with the primary calendar because things got out of hand in 2008, " said political scientist Josh Putnam, who tracks the primary calendar on his blog Frontloading HQ. "Now states with primaries scheduled for February are stuck having to change that."

On Feb. 1, Virginia broke ranks. Its Senate passed a bill to set the commonwealth's primary for March 6. If that's the final date, then under the new party rules Virginia's Republican Party will have to change its delegate apportionments from its winner-take-all model to one that distributes them based on the number of votes each candidate receives. If the party doesn't, Virginia risks losing half its delegates at the Republican National Convention.

Meanwhile, Ward 3 D.C. Councilwoman Mary Cheh has introduced a bill tentatively setting the District's primary for June 5. Gov. Martin O'Malley is "likely" to introduce s bill setting Maryland's primary for April 3, spokesman Shaun Adamec said.

That's the first day new party rules allow for winner-take-all states to vote and, Meadows said, "we're hoping D.C. will join Maryland."

Adamec said, "we'd like to have a regional primary again, and hope the other states join us in April."

Down in Virginia, though, "we didn't think about a regional primary," said Sen. Jill Vogel, R-Winchester, who introduced the March 6 bill. "We wanted to have it on the earliest day we could."

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