Showing posts with label governors. Show all posts
Showing posts with label governors. Show all posts

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Governor Polis Sets Colorado Presidential Primary Date for Super Tuesday

Governor Jared Polis (D-CO) on Tuesday finalized the date of the 2020 Colorado presidential primary.1 In consultation with the Colorado secretary of state, the governor chose Super Tuesday from a narrow range of March Tuesdays as defined in statute after a 2016 ballot initiative reestablished the presidential primary option.

The decision aligns the Colorado presidential primary with primaries or caucuses in 13 other states and territories. Already the most delegate-rich date on the 2020 presidential primary calendar, the addition of primary in the Centennial state puts even more weight on the March 3 Super Tuesday.

This will be the first cycle in which Colorado has conducted a presidential primary since a three cycle run from 1992-2000. Parties in the state have held caucuses since then.

1 Full press release from Governor Polis's office announcing the date:

Governor Polis and Secretary of State Griswold announced March 3rd, 2020 as Colorado’s new presidential primary date


DENVER — Today Governor Jared Polis and Secretary of State Jena Griswold announced March 3rd, 2020 as the new date for Colorado’s presidential primary. The two were joined by leaders from the Democratic, Republican, Unity American Constitution and Approval Voting parties.

“Our Super Tuesday primaries will be a tremendous opportunity to participate in democracy and for Coloradans to have their voices heard by presidential candidates in all parties,” said Governor Jared Polis. “We are proud of 2018’s record turnout, as well as Colorado’s status as a leader on voting rights. We hope to build on that momentum by participating in a primary along with other Super Tuesday states to ensure that all major candidates listen firsthand to the concerns of Colorado voters.”

In 2016, Colorado voters overwhelmingly approved Proposition 107, which restored primary elections in Colorado in presidential election years. The state was previously using the caucus system.

“I am excited to join Governor Polis in officially setting March 3, 2020 -- Super Tuesday -- as the date for Colorado’s 2020 presidential primary. This will be the first presidential primary in Colorado in 20 years -- and the first where unaffiliated voters will be able to participate,” said Secretary of State Jena Griswold. “As Colorado’s Secretary of State, I believe in the power of our democracy. A secure and accessible presidential primary will give Coloradans the opportunity to create the future we imagine.”

The Colorado primary date is now reflected on the 2020 FHQ Presidential Primary Calendar.

Follow FHQ on Twitter and Facebook or subscribe by Email.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Post-2014 State Government Partisan Control and 2016 Presidential Primary Movement

Four years ago, the story coming out of the 2010 midterm elections was what newly Republican-controlled state governments would do in power. The tale from the 2014 postmortems has been much the same. Indeed, Republicans now control both chambers of state legislatures and gubernatorial seats in 23 states (see map below).1 That can and will have a significant impact on policy-making in states covering most of the regions of the country.

It could also influence the way in which the 2016 presidential primary calendar develops and hardens throughout 2015.

Whether a state government is unified or divided along partisan lines is a factor in the calculus that state governmental actors go through when making the decision to shift the date of the state's presidential primary.2 Again, Republicans have stretched their advantage in state government over the last four years. Yet, conditions are different in 2011 than they are in 2015. State governmental control may play a role in any subsequent primary movement, but it plays a smaller role than other factors.

That is consistent with what FHQ has found for the 1976-2008 period. Throughout that span structural, state-level factors played a much larger role in the determination to shift the date of a primary. For instance, a state such as Arkansas in 2015 is forced to decide between moving the presidential primary together with the primaries for state and local offices or creating a separate presidential primary election that can be moved more easily but incurs the cost of funding that new, separate election. That is a sterner test than in a state like Florida where the presidential primary was separate at the outset of the post-reform era. The costs of moving are greater in Arkansas than in Florida.

Incumbency in the White House also matters in this calculus. This may differ in the currently more polarized era, but in the 1976-2008 period, the floodgates have tended to open up in terms of primary movement in years in which both parties have competitive presidential nomination races. In other words, if there is no incumbent seeking reelection, both parties members in state government are potentially more motivated to help their party -- whether candidates, their state or the partisan voters in the state -- to gain some advantage. Actors on the state governmental level are hypothetically more cautious when an incumbent is running for reelection. Partisan conflicts are more likely to occur when one party is attempting to reelect a president while the other is trying to determine which candidate would be best suited to unseating that incumbent. The I'll scratch your back if you'll scratch mine mindset gives way to its every man for himself.

The interesting thing is that the 2012 and 2016 cycles may break from that pattern to some extent. 2012 saw a significant amount of primary movement for a year in which an incumbent was seeking reelection. By comparison, 2016 is off to a much slower start (despite both parties having open nomination contests). The reason is the semi-coordinated rules changes between 2008 and 2012. Both the Democratic National Committee and the Republican National Committee allowed states to hold delegate selection events in February for the 2008 cycle.3 That resulted in a primary calendar in 2008 that began on the heels of New Years, stretching the calendar and in some respects the process out. Neither wanted repeat of that in 2012. The solution was an informal agreement to shift the start point back to February with the majority of states -- those other than the four carve-out states -- being restricted to March or later dates.

That change put 18 primary states in the national parties' crosshairs in January 2011. 18 states had laws calling for February (or earlier) presidential primaries. That significantly reshaped the primary movement calculus in those states. Those states had to move in order to comply with the new rules and avoid the penalties associated with violating them.

As the map below demonstrates, that same pressure from the national parties will not exist in 2015 as the 2016 primary calendar is being finalized in state capitals across the country. There are only three states -- Michigan, New York and North Carolina -- that are officially slated to hold non-compliant presidential primaries in 2016. Michigan has already signaled that a move to March is likely there. And New York is only back in February because the 2011 primary date change was passed with a sunset provision. That leaves only North Carolina.

...and other states that might want to go rogue, breaking the national parties' rules on timing.

But that brings us back full circle to the unified control factor.

One could hypothesize that with so many Republican-controlled states and a significant increase in the Republican penalty associated with holding a pre-March primary (or caucus) that the stars have potentially aligned to produce an orderly primary calendar. Perhaps put more precisely, the parties may have devised the best way of combatting such frontloading activity than has been the case in the past.

There are 23 Republican-controlled states that the more severe RNC penalty may help keep in line. Past scofflaws (and Republican-controlled states) -- Arizona, Florida and Michigan -- have either disarmed or look to be in the process of disarming. However, attempts at going rogue during the 2016 cycle have thus far occurred in Republican-controlled states (Arizona, North Carolina and Utah). The fact that Arizona is on both lists says something about intra-party divisions. That is not something confined to just Arizona either. North Carolina has seen a number of issues put its Republican-controlled Senate at odds with its Republican-controlled House. On the surface, then, it may look as if the combination of more severe RNC penalties and an expansion of Republican-controlled states would help reign in any potential 2016 rogues. But it is more complicated than that.

If we really want to see the potential impact of partisan control of state governments on this process, the best test may not in Republican states where there is a willingness to break the rules. Rather, the better test may be in Republican-controlled states and the ease with which they form regional and subregional primaries.

1 That is a slight increase over the 20 state governments the Republican Party controlled following the 2010 elections.

2 To see a similar examination of these factor from 2011 see here and here.

3 That was not new in 2008. Both parties allowed February contests in 2004, but only the Democratic Party had a nomination race that cycle.

Recent Posts:
If Primary Season Began Today: A Note on the 2016 Presidential Primary Calendar

RNC memo gives Iowa Straw Poll a green light

Arizona Bill Introduced to Again Attempt to Schedule Presidential Primary on Iowa Caucuses Date

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

Friday, February 11, 2011

Florida Primary: Are Governor Scott and the GOP Leadership in the General Assembly Really "At Odds"?

In the wake of Democratic state legislators filing bills in the Florida General Assembly to move the Sunshine state's presidential primary from January back to March, there has been quite a bit of chatter in the Florida press about "battles brewing" and "lines forming" over when the primary should be held. The fight being portrayed, though, misses the point and actually mischaracterizes the parties involved.

The true dividing line on this issue is not, as it seems to be in some of the Florida press, an intra-party struggle within the Republican-controlled state government, but rather a inter-party battle between those same Republicans in control and the minority party Democrats without a contested presidential nomination race. There has been a fair amount of talk about the bills being offered by Democrats to move the primary back into compliance and about the Florida Democratic Party's chair calling for a later date.* But that angle has taken a backseat to the supposedly looming intra-party battle among Republicans.

Look, there may yet be a contentious debate over whether Florida should assert itself and maintain an early, non-compliant primary date or tow the national party line and move back. There are obvious pros and cons either way: go early and take a penalty (one that may not be enforced at the convention) or go later and with many other states and have less influence (while maintaining a full slate of delegates). But it isn't apparent to me that there either is or will definitely be a battle on this issue -- not during this legislative session at least.

Let's look a bit more closely at these "battle lines". First off, the Republican leadership in the House and Senate appears to be supportive of maintaining the January primary.

President of the Senate Mike Haridopolos: "I happen to think the position we're in right now is the correct one. We're going to most likely decide who the next president of the United States is. I think it'd make sense if we did it early in the process."

Speaker of the House Dean Cannon: "I think the earlier we are, the more relevant we are as a national voice. I think the members of the House will be reluctant to move it all the way forward. Again, I'm not taking any hard and fast position, but I certainly favoring [sic] leaving it early as a general principle."

There's some wiggle room there for both, but both seem to support the idea of leaving the presidential primary where it is.

What about the other side of this brewing showdown? Rick Scott has maintained a fairly consistent albeit ambiguous line. In the governor's comments after speaking with RNC chair, Reince Priebus, and in more recently, he has essentially said that Florida should go as early as it can without losing any delegates. That doesn't really tell us anything other than the governor is trying to tread the fine line between what the national party wants and what may be best on the state level (Florida influencing the ultimate identity of the Republican nominee.). In other words, I don't see Scott bringing any real pressure to the table to get legislators to do what the national party desires. Not at this time anyway.

I don't really see that happening in the future either. And I think that simply because this whole discussion of a brewing fight amongst Republicans in Florida on this issue ignores one concrete fact: the governor will likely stay out of the discussion in any direct way unless and until a bill to change the date of the primary lands on his desk. To the extent there will be a debate on this issue, it will take place in the legislature and the leadership seems inclined to potentially bottle these bills up in committee to keep the primary where it is.

Republican legislators may be gambling on this, but it is a calculated gamble. They are betting that, though the national party may complain about a non-compliant primary, they will eventually cave before the convention and reinstate all of the the delegates as they have done in the past. You will also hear some talk about Florida having to switch to a proportional allocation of delegates because of a change in Republican Party rules -- and I don't expect any fight there -- but that will happen whether they have a primary in January or March. The real issue is whether there will be a full Florida delegation in the event of a January primary. If Republicans in the state legislature do nothing and leave the primary where it is, they are operating under the assumption that the national party will yield to Florida in the interest of demonstrating national party unity to the American people at the Tampa convention. Any and all divisiveness will be tamped down or eliminated altogether.

So battle lines? What battle lines? If there are any, they are where they have been since Florida moved in 2007: between the state parties/governments and the national parties. That there is any imminent battle looming among Republicans in Florida has yet to manifest itself in any measurable way in my eyes.

*According to Rule 20.C.7 of the 2012 Democratic Delegate Selection Rules, the state party has make at least some effort to change the date through the legislature if it wants to have any chance of a waiver to hold an early primary or assistance from the national party in holding an alternate contest.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

The Impact of 2010 State Governmental Elections on Frontloading: Part Two

Yesterday's post on the prevalence of unified government in state governments following the 2010 elections set the stage for a further examination of the influence that will have on the likelihood of proposed bills that may shift the dates on which presidential primaries and caucuses will be held. Now, there are a fair number of factors that come into play in the frontloading decision-making calculus of any state legislature (or ultimately the state government). For the time being, FHQ will focus on a handful of them.

First, presidential incumbency matters. I found as much in my research [pdf]. Over the 1976-2008 period, those cycles without an incumbent president on the ballot were three times less likely to witness widespread primary movement than in those cycles where both parties had contested nominations. 2012 will be one of those cycles with an incumbent president on the ballot.

What that tells us is that there is potentially a partisan element to all of this. As Philip Klinkner (1994) found in his book on out party committee activity, those parties currently out of the White House are more likely to tinker with their rules -- as a means of shuffling the deck and potentially increasing their likelihood of success -- than those that occupy the White House. In other words, in this cycle we would expect to see the Republicans being less content with the status quo and thus more likely to alter their rules in some fashion. While the Republican Party did allow rules changes (or the exploration of that possibility) outside of the national convention for the first -- a process that led to the adoption of rules requiring states to proportionally allocate delegates in the event a contest is held prior to April -- that effort is not really the point for our purposes here. Instead, we are looking at the secondary actors here: the state governments. To what level are the states willing to, within those rules, make changes to their election laws to impact their influence over the nomination process? When it comes to frontloading, that is the important question to ask. All things equal, the expectation would be that Republican-controlled governments would be more likely frontload than Democratic-controlled state governments.

2012 is a weird cycle, though. After having allowed February primaries, both national parties are now seeking to scale things back in 2012 and are mandating March or later primary and caucus dates for non-exempt states. For the first time, then, the parties are attempting to force states to backload as opposed to allowing them to frontload to a certain point in the past.

That leaves those 18 states currently in violation (see map below) of the national parties' delegate selection rules firmly within the crosshairs. Each has to move back to a later, compliant date or they face the delegation-reducing sanctions both parties are employing. [For the time being, I'll shunt my thoughts on the effectiveness of those sanctions to the side.]

[Click to Enlarge]

Those 18 states are either the states most likely to move into compliance or the most likely to thumb their noses at the national party rules in an attempt to influence the nominations. And that brings us full circle. Democratic-controlled state governments (of those 18 states) would tend to fall into the former group while Republican-controlled state governments would be more likely to tempt fate and stick it out despite the looming spectre of sanctions. Two Democratic-controlled states (Arkansas and Illinois) in the last legislative session moved to later dates and a third, California (a newly unified Democratic state government), has a proposal to move its primary back to a later date on the 2012 presidential primary calendar.

[Click to Enlarge]

You can begin to see the possible impact here as highlighted by the map above (especially when combined with the partisan maps from part one). The unified state governments would hypothetically be more likely to see some action if they were under Democratic control than if they were under Republican control (seeking greater influence over the nomination) or in the midst of divided control (unable to move into compliance with either national party's delegate selection rules). In other words, there is not only a line between unified and divided state governments, but between states with unified Democratic control and unified Republican control. States like California are more likely to move back, but are unified Republican states like Florida or Georgia more or less likely to move back than states like New York or Missouri with divided government? That will be something for those of us watching to keep our eye on.

The problem with focusing on the states in violation of the national party rules is that it completely disregards states -- particularly unified states -- that are currently compliant but may move to an earlier date valuing influence over the potential costs to their national delegations. Here's where that Texas bill comes into the picture.

[Click to Enlarge]

There are obviously states with unified control that may opt to move into violation of the national parties as well. But those states are much more likely to be Republican-controlled than otherwise. Pennsylvania, a state long divided between the parties and incidentally enough unable to move out of April during the post-reform period, may be worth watching along with Texas since both are Republican-controlled.

The point to take home is that while there may be some states that stick it out with primary dates in violation of the national party rules, there will also be far less movement forward than in the past. There will be movement backward, but much of that will likely depend on the presence of unified government in the state and which party is in control.

Are you following FHQ on Twitter and/or Facebook? Click on the links to join in.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

The Impact of 2010 State Governmental Elections on Frontloading: Part One

On Monday, FHQ posted a chronological list of the start dates for all 50 state legislative sessions. Now, from that calendar several factors, as discussed there, could be gleaned that could impact the evolution of the 2012 presidential primary calendar. However, it was only intended as the opening of an incremental assessment of the state of play in the calendar maneuvering that will take place throughout 2011. State legislatures are very much at the nexus of this decision in a majority of states -- those with primaries. As such the partisan composition of those state legislatures is an important point of departure.

The Republican wave that swept over the 111th Congress grabbed a majority of the headlines as did some of the wins the party saw in gubernatorial races. Yet, those GOP advances stretched down-ballot to state legislatures as well. Nationwide that translated into a gain of more than 675 seats across all state legislatures according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Before I get too far into this first step look into the post-2010 partisan composition of state legislatures, or more to the point, whether there is unified or divided government on the state level, I should note that this is but one of many factors that plays a role in determining if a state ultimately opts to shift the date on which its presidential primary is held. In the models I ran in my dissertation research [pdf], I repeatedly found that structural factors had a greater influence a state's propensity to frontload in the 1976-2008 period than what I deemed political factors. In other words, matters such as whether a state held its presidential primary concurrently with its primaries for state and local offices was of greater import than divided government. It should be noted that another political factor, the presence of an incumbent president running for reelection, had a larger impact than either a divided state government (legislature and governor) or a divided legislature. The theory behind all of this is that rationally acting decision makers would utilize a cost/benefit analysis when deciding whether to frontload their primary. Those state-level decision makers with less structural, political, economic and cultural impediments standing in the way of the decision were found to be more likely to have shifted their primary (or caucus) over the period mentioned above.

While inter-chamber partisan division within a legislature would hypothetically serve as a deterrent to frontloading, it was never the statistically significant factor that inter-branch partisan division (between the executive and legislative branches) consistently proved to be.

That said, what impact did the 2010 Republican wave have on the presence of unified or divided government? First, it is instructive to examine the executive and legislative chamber flips in partisan control during the 2010 elections.

[Click to Enlarge]

Understandably, this is a map that trends red, but only shows two instances (Maine and Wisconsin) where the Republican Party gained control of the executive branch and both the upper and lower chambers of the legislature. Overall, the map does not tell us much more than the map the National Conference of State Legislatures provides other than the fact that it adds gubernatorial gains to the equation. But let's add in a map that shows the prevalence of unified government and then create a hybrid of the two that demonstrates not only the presence of Republican-controlled unified government, but the gains made on that front during 2010.

[Click to Enlarge]

Again, this second map shows us the extent to which unified government extended following the 2010 elections. On the surface, the midterms proved to be a boon to Republican fortunes nearly nationwide. It would, theoretically, have an impact not only on frontloading but on redistricting as well. Unified Republican-control on the state level translates into fewer hurdles between a party making congressional seat gains through redistricting or making an advantageous move of a primary ahead of a presidential nomination cycle that will only see a competitive Republican race.

But what was the impact of 2010?

[Click to Enlarge]

Well, the state that already had unified government prior to 2010 are shaded in either dark red or blue. The gains in unified control by either party are in the lighter shades. If we were a truly enterprising blog, FHQ would go ahead an layer in the new electoral college map as a means of discerning the states where unified control was established and where redistricting will have to take place. Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania are the big ones on that front and sadly for the Democratic Party, California is neither redistricted by its state legislature nor did it gain any seats in the latest reapportionment. Redistricting aside, however, this series of maps does set the stage for an examination of how the partisan shifts in control at the state level will potentially impact the frontloading process during the 2011 state legislative sessions.

With so many states now under unified Republican control and with the Republican nomination being the only contested race, the potential exists for quite a lot of primary movement. But FHQ will delve into that tomorrow with a wider discussion of other factors that could influence state legislative decision making in terms of presidential primary timing.

Are you following FHQ on Twitter and/or Facebook? Click on the links to join in.