Showing posts with label William Gardner. Show all posts
Showing posts with label William Gardner. Show all posts

Friday, March 7, 2014

Bill Gardner Responds to Utah Presidential Primary Bill

"...and I wish they wouldn't."
-- New Hampshire Secretary of State Bill Gardner on the bill making its way through the Utah state House to move the Beehive state presidential primary to first in the nation.
FHQ was wondering if and when a response from Secretary Gardner was going to come on this Utah presidential primary bill. We now have an answer to that question. And it was not an atypical response from the secretary. He is compelled by New Hampshire state law to keep the presidential primary in the Granite state first in the nation. Let the record show that he is batting 1.000 in that effort since 1976. Threats may come and go, but New Hampshire (and Iowa) remain at the head of the queue. There really is no reason to think that that will change in 2016.

...even if the Utah bill contains a novel threat: online voting that offers the Beehive state the sort of potential ease of movement (on the calendar) that New Hampshire has.


Well, Gardner is right to trumpet the Granite state tradition of going first. Everyone knows what they've got in New Hampshire -- for better or worse. There is certainty in that knowledge from the national parties' perspectives and from the candidates' and campaigns' perspectives. In a system that contains a great deal of uncertainty, that one little bit of certainty helps. That is why in the days before Florida was threatening the early states on the calendar -- and the national parties frowned on that type of leapfrogging rogue behavior -- New Hampshire was able to essentially blackmail candidates into coming to the Granite state rather than heading off to rival states (such as Delaware in 1996).

In other words, come here or pay the price.

Here, again, is where that certainty of New Hampshire being first reenters the picture. That certainty usually translates into candidates spending a lot of time, money and effort there in the year before the presidential election year; knowing that New Hampshire will be first. Few campaigns are willing to cut bait on all that effort to go to another state and basically start over. That is especially true if they know -- or think they know -- that New Hampshire is going to jump right back to the top at presumably the last minute anyway.

This is Gardner's trump card. He pulled it on Nevada Republicans in 2012, and he will continue to use it until state-level actors learn threatening New Hampshire is futile.1 The only thing is that this lesson has to be relearned over and over again.

Recall that there are only four days left in the legislative session in Utah. HB 410 has to pass the House and carve an expedited path through the state Senate before next Thursday (March 13). Recall also, that even if it passes the legislature, it still has to be signed into law. Should it pass, expect to see another RNC delegation make its way to the office of Utah Governor Gary Herbert (R). That is what happened last year when a bill in Arizona threatened to anchor the Grand Canyon state presidential primary to the Iowa caucuses. That isn't to suggest that the RNC would be attempting to intimidate Utah into complying with the RNC delegate selection rules. Rather, it is more likely an effort to explain the nature and seriousness of the severe penalties associated with a timing violation.

Both Secretary Gardner and the RNC have the luxury of sitting back to watch the final week of the Utah state legislature first. Then they can move on to the next step if necessary.

1 Keep in mind that it is even more difficult for potential rivals now that the national parties have codified the calendar positions of the carve-out states. That doesn't operate as a decree on high that keeps states in line so much as it is an added layer of protection that New Hampshire and the other carve-out states can use in their defense of their positions.

Are you following FHQ on TwitterGoogle+ and Facebook? Click on the links to join in.

Friday, September 16, 2011

NH's Gardner Indicates Granite State Presidential Primary Will Stay a Week Ahead of Other States

FHQ loves it when New Hampshire Secretary of State Bill Gardner comes along and says in a sentence or two what FHQ has spent months trying to tell our readers and other passersby. Here is what Gardner had to say to John DiStaso of the Manchester Union-Leader:
“In the end, if it's Nevada going on the 18th, then we're not going on the 14th, but I don't think it's going to be Nevada in the end” that prompts an earlier date for New Hampshire.
It is funny that Gardner should say this on the very day that I questioned on The Daily Rundown how strictly he would observe the New Hampshire election law that requires not only at least a seven day window before the primary (Iowa usually holds its caucuses eight days in advance of the New Hampshire primary.) but a similar buffer after the contest as well. FHQ has said for a while now that the tentative dates that are out there for the first four states are just that, tentative. In fact, they are a DNC creation that not all of the first four states are recognizing. The RNC only requires that Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina go no earlier than February. The Iowa and Nevada Republican Parties have gone along with that plan, penciling in their caucuses for the DNC-mandated dates (February 6 and 18 respectively), but nothing formal or otherwise has come out of either New Hampshire or South Carolina.

Gardner knows better.

And he basically put a death knell in the Nevada-just-four-days-after-New-Hampshire plan with just one statement. That, in turn, means that New Hampshire will likely go a full week and a half before either Nevada or Nevada/South Carolina if both choose to hold Saturday contests.

Now, folks may be wondering, "Well, what about 2008?" The 2008 calendar put both Iowa and New Hampshire behind the eight ball. Iowa's caucuses were pushed right up against New Year's Day on January 3, and New Hampshire positioned itself just five days later, but a full seven days ahead of the non-compliant January 15 primary in Michigan. In 2008, New Hampshire for months was tentatively penciled in for January 22, but Gardner laid waste to that notion by holding out until all the other states settled their dates before scheduling New Hampshire's (as close to compliant with the state law as he could get without pushing Iowa into December and out of compliance with the national party rules).

January 22, 2008 was never the date of the New Hampshire primary where it counted: with Bill Gardner. And February 14, 2012 was never likely to be the date of the Granite state primary either unless, of course, no states defied the rules.

That hasn't happened and neither will February 14.

...for New Hampshire anyway.

What does this mean for the final calendar? Well, it means what it always means: that New Hampshire is very likely to be the last player to make a move in this date setting process. Beyond that, however, it means that New Hampshire won't settle for just a four day buffer between it and the third state to hold a primary or caucus. Gardner appears to think that that third state could be Missouri or Wisconsin. FHQ has gotten assurances from folks on the ground in Nevada, though, that Republicans in the Silver state will move up to stay within the first four states grouping. This is now the second time that Gardner has brought up Wisconsin as a rogue state. He may know something that FHQ does not, but by all indications, the Badger state move to April in moving along as planned. Governor Walker has some say in the matter -- he could veto the measure -- but I have seen nothing, pro or con, to signal what Walker is likely to do. Missouri is a threat, but as I said yesterday, I'm less pessimistic about the move to March in the Show Me state than I was on the evening the news broke about the hold up of the legislation in the state Senate.

But what does it mean for the calendar?
January 23: Iowa
January 31: New Hampshire
February 7: Minnesota, (Missouri*)
February 11: Nevada
February 18: South Carolina
February 21: Florida, Georgia (Wisconsin*)
February 28: Arizona, Michigan
*Assuming neither Missouri nor Wisconsin move their primaries.

Now, this is completely speculative, but it does take into account the information that we have at the moment; information that can and will very likely change in a heartbeat.

Are you following FHQ on TwitterGoogle+ and Facebook? Click on the links to join in.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Gardner Speaks: New Hampshire Might Not Stick with Feb. 14 Presidential Primary Date

Rare are the times that New Hampshire Secretary of State William Gardner says much of anything about the presidential primary in the Granite state. ...unless or until, of course, he sets the date for the contest. It was more earth-shattering, then, that he gave a recent interview with Shira Shoenberg of The Boston Globe on the subject, than it was that Gardner indicated that February 14 is not all that likely to be the date on which the New Hampshire primary will be held in 2012.

Indeed, that date always depended upon other, non-exempt states moving their primaries and caucuses in line with the guidelines for delegate selection. And that's something FHQ has been saying was a low probability since last year because of all the states that had to move to comply with national party rules. The list of states has been whittled down, but there remains a handful of states that may serve as a threat to New Hampshire or any of the other early states. Again, as I said earlier this week, the most likely scenario will see the four earliest states in January with a smattering of rogue, non-compliant states mostly in February but perhaps slipping into the end of January. Every other state will follow on or after March 6.

On another note, the mention of Michigan, Florida, Arizona and now Missouri being possible threats to New Hampshire is not new, but the talk of of West Virginia and Wisconsin is. The legislature in Wisconsin has a bill that has passed the Senate and another that originated in the Assembly before the lower chamber now, but those probably will not get a vote until later in the summer. There is, however, bipartisan support for the legislation and the Republican majority in both chambers has sponsored it. As for West Virginia, there was talk out of the Mountain state earlier in the week that indicated at least some likelihood of West Virginia Republicans adopting a convention system beginning with January county caucuses and ending with a Super Tuesday (March 6) state convention. This is the same system Mountain state Republicans used in 2008. The sticking point for New Hampshire in the West Virginia proposal is the January 24 county caucuses. But those caucuses only select non-binding slates of delegates to move on to the state convention. With that said, in 2008, West Virginia Republicans held county caucus meetings across a two week period as opposed to one day. That may give New Hampshire Secretary of State Gardner pause. After all, Iowa's caucuses are similarly non-binding, as are the February 7 caucuses in Minnesota.

The main point remains that none of this is really a surprise. Given the lack of any real meaningful penalties on non-compliant states, there were bound to be a few states -- even beyond Florida and Michigan -- that would challenge the national parties (especially the RNC). In that environment, New Hampshire was a near certainty to move up ahead of the proposed February 14 date.