Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Republican Party of Texas Primary Election Schedule Defense is, uh, Interesting.

There was something that struck FHQ as odd in the filing the Republican Party of Texas submitted to the San Antonio Federal District court on Monday. [That filing was released today. -- via txredistricting.org]

Now, this is the same court whose decision in the Texas redistricting case was met with a stay from the US Supreme Court late last week. That decision has sent the lower court -- and the state parties in Texas -- scrambling to square the disarray the uncertainty into which the redrawn maps have thrown the 2012 primary season across Texas. The Republican Party of Texas wants to maintain the March 6 primary for the presidential nomination and a host of other statewide races and push the primaries for other offices -- those requiring the redrawn maps -- to May 29. RPT placed the greatest emphasis on the impact moving the presidential primary would have on the local party level:
Munisteri cannot emphasize enough to this court that moving the date of the Texas presidential primary, aside from placing difficulty, nay nearly impossible burdens on the administration of the Republican Party at all levels, but especially at the most basic level where it is wholly conducted by volunteers, will cause this court to likely change the result of the national Republican nomination for President of the United States. 
To be clear, the Republicans were most concerned in this filing with the possibility of the presidential primary being moved back to May 29 as well; a date that would make completing the process prior to the early June state convention difficult. The party also argued that moving the presidential primary would force local elections officials to find alternate venues for precinct conventions and pay for those from personal funds. But then came the interesting argument from the party: That abandoning the March 6 presidential primary date would affect the balance achieved by the Texas legislature in setting that date to "preserve this States' [sic] voters a voice in the nomination of the Republican and Democratic nominees for President of the United States." The party goes on to argue that it even changed from winner-take-all delegate allocation rules to proportional in light of requirements from the Republican National Committee in order to preserve that voice.

Now sure, moving the presidential primary all the way back to May 29 would more than likely push Texas out of the window of decisiveness in the Republican presidential nomination race. And that would make the shift from winner-take-all to proportional rules all for naught. But it appears as if the Texas Democratic Party was ready with a counterproposal that would keep all the primaries on one date -- the position they want. Instead of May 29 as the consolidated primary date, the Democrats are arguing for an April 3 primary date.

That date grabbed FHQ's attention. [In fact, I may be the only one.] Why? That was the date that some Republican legislators were pushing to move the primary to back in the spring during the legislature's regular session. Not only that, but that was a date that the Republican National Committeeman (and now RNC legal counsel) Bill Crocker and Republican Party of Texas Chairman Steve Munisteri argued for in a hearing on the primary date legislation before a House committee. Look at what FHQ had to say about that hearing in April 2011:
The committee substitute to HB 111 discussed in the hearing would move the presidential primary back to first Tuesday in April. That move was supported by both Republican National Committeeman from Texas, Bill Crocker, and Texas Republican Party Chairman, Steve Munisteri. Both cited the need to comply with national party rules concerning timing and stressed the potential penalties associated with violations (half or more of the delegation). That is not a concern on timing but is based on the rules regarding Republican delegate allocation in the state. As was the case for the Republican National Committee in every post-reform cycle but 2012, the Republican Party of Texas cannot change its rules except at its convention and the party would need to change its winner-take-all allocation method to comply with the RNC rules if the state maintained a March primary. In other words, the state party could not make the necessary change to its method of delegate allocation until its convention following the primary in 2012. This concerned both Republicans for the potential penalties associated with an inability to make that change. Interestingly neither Crocker nor Munisteri mentioned the potential for Texas losing significance for moving to a later date and both touted the possible advantages of not only maintaining the winner-take-all rules with an April primary, but also the additional significance that would carry if the nomination race was still being contested at that point.
Again, those matters are out the window if the court pushes a May 29 date. The RPT is absolutely right in that case. However, the court may be sympathetic to the April 3 date Texas Democrats are rallying behind. The only question is whether the court -- or the parties for that matter -- feels the redistricting plan will be in place by that point. It is already uncomfortable with the March 6 date for offices that require those lines, but is that extra month enough time?

...and will the Republican Party of Texas consider shifting back to winner-take-all delegate allocation rules if so?

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Bill Introduced in Ohio House to Create a Consolidated Primary on May 22

UPDATE: Strike the below update. That applies to candidates for any office other than president or US House. The new deadline -- altered in this law for 2012 but reverting to 90 days prior to an election in all subsequent cycles -- will be 75 days prior to the proposed May 22 primary. That would be March 8, 2012. Of course that still leaves the emergency clause problem, but reduces the window of time between the filing deadline and the enactment of the law (assuming no emergency clause).

UPDATE: HB 391 retains the original December 7 filing deadline. That means that the only recourse available to Bachmann, Huntsman, Paul and Santorum -- if this bill becomes law -- is to file as a write-in candidate. That deadline is set as 72 days prior to the original March 6 primary date. That date is December 26, 2011.

--
Original post:

The Ohio House this morning introduced HB 391 to repeal the code to be enacted from the passage of HB 318. The latter legislation created a separate presidential (and US House) primary to be held on June 12, over three months after the primaries for all other offices on March 6. In addition to that reversal, the bill would also consolidate all primary elections on May 22. That would save the state the estimated $15 million it would have taken to administer the extra election.

Now, FHQ has been over this story many times already -- so I'll spare you the gory details -- but the basic storyline is that the prior attempts to set the date were layered in with other, more controversial elections provisions (changes in voter access and redistricting) that led to efforts to put those then bills -- now laws -- before the voters of Ohio on the November 2012 ballot. The progression has looked something like this:

  1. ...moved the primaries from March to May (HB 194)
  2. ...returned them to March from May (HB 319)
  3. ...moved the presidential and US House primaries from March to June  (HB 318)
  4. ...proposed moving those two sets of primaries back to March (HB 369)
  5. *NEW*...proposed consolidating those two sets of primaries on May 22 (HB 391)

FHQ has not seen the bill, but there should be some caution about this proposed May 22 primary date. First of all, for the legislation to take effect immediately upon gubernatorial signature, it will require an emergency clause. Such a clause requires a two-thirds vote in both chambers of the legislature and that means that the bill would require Democratic support. But does the emergency clause matter in this case?

Yes.

Without Democratic support, the legislation -- if passed and signed into law -- would take effect on March 12 (90 days) if it was passed and signed today. The filing deadline for a May 22 primary would be on February 22; 90 days prior to the primary and a month before the law laid forth in HB 391 is to take effect. Of course, as was the case last week when much was made about Newt Gingrich missing the Ohio filing deadline, this would mostly be a technicality. The June 12 primary takes effect on January 20 and would put in place a March 14 filing deadline. Yeah, that deadline would be fictitious, too since it would only be in place until the provisions in HB 391 took effect. That would be two days prior to March 14 on March 12. [Confused yet?] At that point the real -- February 22 -- filing deadline will have passed. In other words, for those candidates not named Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich or Rick Perry -- those already on the ballot in Ohio -- go ahead and submit your paperwork now. Save yourself and your campaign staff the confusion.1

I haven't watched it yet this season, but the Ohio primary date situation reminds me of what the magician in Frosty the Snowman says: "Messy, messy, messy." That's the Ohio situation in a nutshell.

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1 Granted, the Ohio legislature could change the filing deadline to sometime other than 90 days prior to the primary election for 2012.


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Monday, December 12, 2011

Is the March 6 Texas Presidential Primary Really Safe from the Court Squabble Over Redistricting?

Over the weekend, FHQ received several requests/queries for some sort of comment about the impact the Supreme Court's Friday stay in the Texas redistricting case would have on the presidential primary in the Lone Star state. Will the decision have an impact? Yes and no.

There are two ways of thinking about this. One is from the standpoint of the delegate selection process. If the Republican Party of Texas allocates some of its delegates based on the results of the votes in the congressional districts, then how can the primary go forward in March without a new district map in place? The second is more of an administrative issue. How does the addition of another election affect the actual administration of these several elections? What are the costs? Setting aside the latter for the moment, the impact on RPT's presidential primary is minimal. Yes, there is a congressional district element to the allocation of delegates in the Texas Republican plan, but the point in the process where that intervenes decreases its impact. Let me explain.

There are a couple of elements involved here. First of all, neither the state of Texas nor the Republican Party of Texas has the luxury of leaning on past congressional districts. If this was simply a matter of divvying up the same 32 districts that existed before the Census in a way that accounted for population shifts within the state over the last decade, then that's one thing. But Texas has added four congressional seats and that affects the delegate apportionment from the national party. It is important to note that using the congressional district units in this process is something that is completely up to the state parties (on both sides). So while that element is part of the delegate selection process, it is only there so long as the Republican Party of Texas wants it there. Those sorts of decisions -- by the state parties -- is something in which the courts have continually refrained from becoming involved. They -- the courts -- just don't weigh in on those sorts of political -- intra-party -- questions. Instead they will defer to the state or national party's judgment. Now, where the courts may be sympathetic on these sorts of issues is when the administration of elections is affected. But I'll have more on that in a moment.  

The other part of this is the actual sequence of the Texas delegate allocation process. Texas represents a rare example of a state that opted to abandon completely its winner-take-all allocation rules of the past, instead adopting a proportional means of allocation in 2012. That proportional allocation is not for just a sliver of the overall total. No, Texas Republicans switched to a completely proportional allocation method for 2012.1 I don't want to preempt a post on the Texas delegate selection rules I'm working on, but suffice it to say, the congressional district portion of the allocation will not be an issue until and unless the redistricting court dispute plays out past the state convention in early June. [With the courts already discussing a bifurcated primary process with a March primary and a May primary, the courts are of the opinion that the dispute will be resolved in time for that May primary to be held. That, of course, precedes the June state convention.]

Why?

Well, under the new rules, the candidates' portion of the vote serves as an umbrella over the entire process. Each set of delegates -- whether at-large or congressional district -- is allocated proportionate to a candidate's share of the statewide vote. Well, truth be told, it is, in fact, the total number of delegates that are allocated proportionally. The at-large and congressional district distinctions are only made as a means of identifying the actual delegates and the candidates to whom they are pledged. [I'm already pushing back against that particular statement, so I know others will. Bear with me and take my word for it for the time being. I'll have a post dedicated to the Texas plan soon.] Much of that business is taken care of at the state convention anyway, so the RPT will not need the new district boundaries in place until then for the purpose of delegate allocation. On the evening of March 6, then, we'll know the number of delegates each candidate will have from Texas. We just won't know who those delegates are. [That's not a point that most people are concerned with anyway; especially if we're in the midst of a delegate counting under a microscope at that point.]

In terms of the process (within the party), then, Friday's stay is not likely to have much of an impact on the presidential primary. However, strain is already beginning to show as far as how this will affect the actual administration of the, now, two primaries that are supposedly going to take place in the spring. We move from a party issue to one that concerns the state, county and local administration of elections. Part of the reason the Texas primary stayed in March was because there was a tremendous amount of pushback from the local level on the effects a proposed move to April would have had (see links in footnote below). I spent enough time following the primary movement discussion to know that there are enough lines drawing various boundaries for various offices across Texas to make anything other than the status quo nearly impossible for local elections officials to make work -- at least that is the argument made whenever the possibility of a change to the system arises. That was witnessed in legislative hearings back in the spring and has already come up in the context of this redistricting discussion. The question presidential primary followers need to focus on as this proceeds is how sympathetic the courts will be to that complaint/argument from local elections officials. The answer to that question will hinge on the extent to which counties can make the argument that the additional election causes financial duress.

That may or may not push the presidential primary to a different date, but the allocation of delegates will be unaffected either way.

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1 Texas legislators and the RPT were fearful -- unnecessarily, seemingly -- of the backlash from the RNC if it did not make changes to its delegate allocation formula from 2008. Of course, the old plan seems to have followed the guidelines of "proportionality" from the RNC as they were. Alas, changes were made.


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Sunday, December 11, 2011

Waiver Granted, Missouri Democrats Will Proceed with February 7 Primary

There has been a revised version of the 2012 Missouri Democratic Party delegate selection plan (dated December 2011) circulating this week.1 It shows the party abandoning the originally proposed, but never fully realized March 6 primary date for the February 7 date on which the state-funded presidential primary will be held according to state law. FHQ's efforts to confirm both this plan and the party's feelings on the likelihood of a waiver -- for an obviously non-compliant primary date -- were ignored by MDP. [Sadly, we've been at it since at least our post on a similar situation in Minnesota and still never spoke to anyone at MDP.]

However, what the state Democratic Party could not confirm was confirmed and then some today -- well, yesterday -- by the Democratic Rules and Bylaws Committee.2 The RBC yesterday not only confirmed the date of the Missouri Democratic primary but also that a waiver had been applied for and granted for a primary date a month of the earliest date for non-exempt states allowed by the national parties. FHQ won't rehash the whole Missouri primary date ordeal, but there was enough obstruction -- whether directly or through intra-party [Republican] division -- from the Republican-controlled General Assembly to prevent a move back a month to March in order to comply with the rules.  There was -- in the eyes of the RBC -- enough of an effort made by Democrats in the state to move the primary to trigger a waiver. Again, though, a waiver is much easier to get in a year in which the Democratic Party is the incumbent party in the White House and is not facing a competitive race for its nomination.

Regardless, Missouri Democrats will be utilizing the February 7 primary as a means of beginning its delegate selection process for 2012.



Hat tip to DemRulz (via The Green Papers) for the news.

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1 Here is said delegate selection plan:
2012 Missouri Democratic Delegate Selection Plan

2 The RBC also approved waivers for the four exempt states -- Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina. The states' early positions were protected and none will face sanction for shifting ahead of the Florida primary scheduled for January 31.

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Friday, December 9, 2011

In Lieu of Non-Compliant Primary, Arizona Dems Opt for Late March Caucuses

From the "questions FHQ had but had yet to follow up on" department:

The Arizona Democratic Party, according to the Arizona Republic, has decided abandon what would have been a non-compliant presidential primary on February 28 and instead start the delegate selection process with the already-scheduled district caucuses on March 31 (see page 7 of the proposed delegate selection plan from March 2011 for more on the district caucuses1).

The apparent reason for the change -- the stated reason anyway -- was to save Arizona taxpayers some money. But the Arizona secretary of state's office is absolutely right in the article from the Arizona Republic. Unless all Arizona parties opted out of the primary, the savings are negligible if not nonexistent. What's strange is that the ADP could very easily have filed a waiver with the national party to be exempted from penalties associated with a non-compliant primary. While no Democrats made any effort in the state legislature during the spring session to introduce any bill shifting the date on which the presidential primary was held -- something that is a requirement to have a waiver granted (see Minnesota) -- the matter was out of their hands anyway. As was witnessed in the late summer when Governor Jan Brewer (R) was  threatening to move the primary up to January, the power rested with her and very much out of the hands of any Democrat with any power in the state government. She did not need to use her proclamation power to set a primary on the fourth Tuesday in February because that is the date called for in state law. However, Governor Brewer did use that power and thus demonstrated how little influence the ADP had in the process. State Democratic Parties with no recourse like that (see Florida 2008) are or can be granted some leeway by the party in terms of the penalties associated with a non-compliant contest.

I know what you're thinking. Why does any of this matter anyway? It doesn't. Ultimately, it is up to the state party to decide how it wants to allocate its delegates, and the Arizona Democratic Party, with no real competition in the contest anyway, mind you, has taken the caucus route.


Note: Take note of the fact that the territories have now been added to the map. An updated 2012 presidential primary calendar can be found here.

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1 There is no updated, finalized and DNC-approved plan posted on the Arizona Democratic Party web page. FHQ has a call into the ADP and will update this information when they get back to me.


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Thursday, December 8, 2011

Jeb Bush is running for president.

No, Jeb Bush isn't running for president.

...yet, if you are to believe Rhodes Cook and Bill Kristol today.

[Sorry. FHQ had to have some fun.]

FHQ is as big a fan of wild speculation as anyone, but there is absolutely no evidence in the post-reform era that a candidate can jump into the nomination process midstream and end up being successful (defined as winning the nomination). Yes, I am fully aware that those in support of this theory are likely to throw the calendar and delegate math in my face. [I know. Me!?! How can the primary calendar be thrown in my face?]

Since the presidential nomination process was reformed ahead of the 1972 cycle, the calendar has become increasingly frontloaded -- more contests clustered at the beginning of the process. The calendar movement occurred in fits and starts across every cycle with the exception of maybe 1992 when slight shifts forward were counteracted by several southern states abandoning the failed -- from the perspective of the Democratic state governments that spearheaded the moves -- Southern Super Tuesday after 1988.

2012 is different, though.

The national party delegate selection rules and the actions of Florida (and Arizona and Michigan) yielded a presidential primary calendar unlike those witnessed throughout much of the post-reform era. 2012 is far more backloaded than earlier calendars and has a quick/early start followed by a lull in February. The only good parallels to 2012 are the very earliest calendars, and those are imperfect comparisons because they occurred during the transition period of the new nomination system. Candidates were still attempting to adapt to the new system and late entries were slightly more common. In the time since, however, the propensity of those on the outside of the process looking in to get into the race has trailed off dramatically.

It just doesn't happen. That does not mean that it cannot happen, it just means that is usually doesn't.

But let's look back at a calendar with a similar delegate math/progression and similar dynamics: the 1992 Democratic nomination race. I know. This comparison has been made before. Bear with FHQ here. Look at the calendar and the delegate progression through the 1992 cycle.

The calendar
There was a two week gap between New Hampshire and Super Tuesday in 1992 as compared to the two and a half week gap between Maine (Those caucus results won't be released until February 11.) and Arizona/Michigan on February 28.  Super Tuesday 2012 follows a week later.

The delegate math
Looking at the delegate math, 1992 and 2012 are also similar. There are three main spikes in each: Super Tuesday, April (the first week in 1992 and the fourth week in 2012) and the first week in June. Those are the big delegate days in each.

The dynamics
The clear similarity between the 1992 Democratic race and the 2012 Republican nomination race is that there is no clear frontrunner; not one that was firmly established in the invisible primary and maintained that position heading into and through the primary calendar. If ever there was a chance for voters to have some buyer's remorse and/or for an outsider (see Mario Cuomo) to jump in, it would have been during the 1992 cycle (see Gennifer Flowers, Paula Jones, "I didn't inhale."). And you know what? Voters in later states did exhibit some buyer's remorse. There was some movement toward Jerry Brown's candidacy, but in the end it wasn't enough to secure the nomination. In fact, it wasn't even close.

A few of caveats:
1) Let's please remember that Democrats then (and now) required the proportional allocation of delegates in all contests. That slows the process down and opens the door even further to the possibility of someone jumping in midstream. And while the RNC has changed the delegate allocation rules for the 2012 cycle, the impact of the change has been grossly overstated to this point. The picture remains incomplete, but state-by-state there are very few substantive changes in the method of delegate allocation as compared to 2008. The Republican nomination process may slow down, but it will be due more to the calendar than to those rules. As such, the 1992 Democratic nomination race serves as a good comparison point that actually offered a slightly greater opportunity -- according to Cook's metric -- to enter the race late.

2) This is a big one. FHQ alluded to the voters above and they all too often get left out of these thought exercises. Look, things change immeasurably once the first votes are cast. Once the votes have been cast and candidates actually start winning something -- You know, something other than straw polls and meaningless polls of states at the end of the process -- the mindset changes. Voters don't typically say, "Crap, Mitt Romney won Iowa. Who else is out there for me to vote for who isn't on the ballot yet in some of these later states?" And voters definitely don't say, "Crap, Newt Gingrich won Iowa and South Carolina and Mitt Romney won New Hampshire, Florida and Nevada. Who else is out there?" No, instead, voters start to either vote for the frontrunner (or someone else in the race -- see Ron Paul's support in the contests after McCain wrapped up the nomination on March 4, 2008.) or in the second scenario, they separate into camps a la the Democratic race in 2008. There may be some shopping around, but on the rare occasions when it occurs, it is shopping around for someone who is already in the race. Voters don't pine for some not in the race. If that was the case, would we not have seen someone else jump into challenge McCain in 2008?

3) The final piece of this puzzle is that we need to examine the conditions under which someone would actually jump into the 2012 race after the contests have actually begun. For 2012, one would have to think that the potential to divide the Republican Party in the scenario where Mitt Romney emerges early or to divide it further in the case that Romney and Gingrich are trading wins is enough to scare most away. If there was a silver bullet candidate out there, he or she would already be in the race. [I thought we settled this during the Chris Christie is reconsidering period.] In other words, it would take a consensus candidate who is not out there or doesn't want to run. Outside of that reality, it would take Obama going into free fall in the polls to possibly bring another Republican into the race. Economic growth projections are good for the first two quarters in 2012, but that could certainly be affected by the  Eurozone situation. Something could also happen on the international stage (Iran flares up for example.). But something like that is likely to help Obama, not hurt him (Rally 'round the flag effect) in the short term. And that underlines the fact that something like that needs to happen in the next couple of months. FHQ just doesn't see that.

--

Let me close by returning to the voters. If they begin to shop around once Romney and/or Gingrich begins winning contests then it will likely be for someone who is already out there and actually has some resources at his or her disposal. Who is that candidate? Well, Bernstein are you paying attention, it is likely to be Rick Perry playing the Jerry Brown role. But like Brown, Perry is likely to in that scenario play spoiler to either Gingrich or Romney than to actually win the nomination himself.

So, for the record, FHQ predicts that the field is set. Sorry Jeb supporters, but you'll have to wait until 2016.


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Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Don't Necessarily Get to Used to the Idea of a June Presidential Primary in Ohio

Did Newt make the deadline in Ohio? Did he not make the filing deadline? At this point, it's moot. [FHQ really should have tried harder to pair up Newt and moot in some of rhyming Shakespearean couplet. Not our strong suit.] Today is the filing deadline for the presidential primary but only because of a technicality. The bill that shifted the presidential primary and the US House primaries from March to June will not take effect until next month and as such the filing deadline -- 90 days before any primary election -- has not been shifted accordingly. A filing deadline, in other words, cannot be instituted and enforced for an election that does not yet exist. That said, that June primary for presidential and US House nominations will be set in stone as of January 20.

...unless it isn't.

The reason FHQ adds that caveat is that the Ohio legislature has not given up hope that a deal can be reached to create one consolidated primary for all offices. The complication is that after today, the March 6 option will be off the table unless there is some effort to reduce the amount of time -- 90 days currently -- between the filing deadline and the primary. Other later options are still a possibility; leaving that 90 day window untouched. In fact, that is exactly the direction the Ohio House appears to be moving. And finally, it appears that Buckeye state legislators will propose a separate, stand-alone bill addressing the presidential primary date (and the date of the other primaries as well).

As FHQ has laid out in detail previously, the Ohio presidential primary situation has been a complete mess. The only state that had more trouble attempting to schedule a primary this cycle has been Missouri, and even then a case could probably be made that Ohio has been worse. The main culprit behind the complication has been that the presidential primary date change(s) have been added to omnibus bills with other controversial elections provisions. The first -- the move from March to May -- is in limbo because it was included in a bill that is perceived by some groups to curb voting access. That led to an effort to put that new law before the voters on the November 2012 ballot and postponed the "effective by" date in the process. The second move -- to solidify the March primary date -- has now met a similar fate. Instead of voting access, the complicating factor is the new redistricting map. But now, finally, legislators seem to have wised up and are considering introducing a bill that would only address the primary date; consolidating the two new sets of primaries on a date later than March 6.

As of now, one date being discussed, and that legislative Democrats are open to, is April 24. That is the same date as the primaries in Connecticut, Delaware, New York, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island. Adding Ohio to the mix on that date would create a contiguous Rust Belt/Northeastern regional primary that would have the third most delegates at stake in the Republican nomination race. Only March 6 and June 5, in that order, are dates that would have more delegates available to the candidates vying for the nomination than April 24. That date would also allow Ohio Republicans to maintain their winner-take-all allocation of delegates and avoid having to allocate at-large delegates proportionally.

The Ohio House was in session today -- as was the relevant State Government and Elections Committee -- but there was no action on the primary date front. The legislature -- both the House and Senate -- will be back in session on December 13 and 14; next Tuesday and Wednesday. Those are the final two session days for the year.

For the record, an April 24 primary would mean a January 25 filing deadline. If a change to that date is not made next week, then January 24 is the only remaining date available prior to January 25 in which both chambers are in session once the legislature reconvenes next year. There may be a change from the June 12 primary date, but that will likely have to take place next week or right before the deadline for the proposed date change.

Never a dull moment in Ohio.


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Monday, December 5, 2011

[2012 Presidential Primary Calendar in Review] Part 1: How We Got Here -- The Legislation

Below are links to the 2011 state legislative bills that moved -- or sought to shift -- the dates on which 31 states' primaries or caucuses will be held during the 2012 cycle. Of the 71 bills introduced, 21 were signed that changed the dates on which primaries will be held, two (Kansas and Washington) were signed canceling primaries altogether, two others (Florida and Georgia) were signed shifting the authority to set the date of a primary, and one bill (Colorado) was signed changing the date of a caucus. 

In a sign of just how powerful the new national party delegate selection rules were -- those that required a March start time for all non-exempt states -- there were only five states (Idaho, Michigan, New Mexico, North Carolina and Texas) with bills to move presidential primaries or caucuses forward from the date specified in the then-current law. Only one of those five bills even passed one legislative chamber. The Idaho legislature shifted primary in the Gem state up by a week in May only to later have the Idaho Republican Party abandon the primary in favor of an earlier caucus. The New Mexico and North Carolina bills sought early but compliant primary dates while the unsuccessful bills in Michigan and Texas would have moved the primaries there to non-compliant dates in January and February, respectively.

The remaining states where bills passed moved back. Five of those states (Alabama, California, New Jersey, Utah and Wisconsin) consolidated their presidential primaries with some state and/or local primaries. Additionally, Michigan's law -- the one changed temporarily for 2008 -- calls for a presidential primary that is concurrent with local school elections. Only Ohio moved in the other direction creating a separate presidential and US House primary because of redistricting issues.

Of the bills below that passed and changed the dates of the presidential primaries, only one (New York) represented a temporary move. New York now has no primary date for any cycle beyond 2012.

Below are the bills:



  • Alabama (HB 32)
  • Alabama (HB 425) -- Passed House 4/26/11 -- Passed Senate 5/26/11 -- Signed 6/9/11
  • California (AB 80) -- Passed Assembly 4/11/11 -- Passed Senate 7/14/11 -- Signed 7/29/11
  • Colorado (SB 189) -- Passed Senate 4/13/11 -- Passed House (amended) 5/3/11 -- Passed Senate 5/5/11 -- Signed 5/27/11
  • Connecticut (HB 6532) -- Passed House 5/18/11 -- Passed Senate 6/7/11 -- Signed 7/8/11
  • Delaware (SB 89) -- Passed Senate 6/16/11 -- Passed House 6/29/11 -- Signed 7/27/11
  • DC (B19-0090) -- Passed Council 4/5/11 -- Signed 4/27/11
  • Florida (HB 695) -- Died: Legislature Adjourned 5/6/11
  • Florida (HB 1355) -- Passed House 4/21/11 -- Passed Senate 5/5/11 -- Signed 5/19/11
  • Florida (SB 860) -- Died: Legislature Adjourned 5/6/11
  • Georgia (HB 454) -- Passed House 3/16/11 -- Passed Senate 4/14/11 -- Signed 5/13/11
  • Idaho (H 14)
  • Idaho (H 60) -- Passed House 2/3/11 -- Passed Senate 2/16/11 -- Signed 2/23/11
  • Kansas (HB 2080) -- Passed House 2/25/11 -- Passed Senate (amended) 4/1/11 -- Passed Senate (amended) 5/12/11 -- Passed House 5/12/11 -- Signed 5/25/11
  • Kansas (HB 2126)
  • Kansas (SB 128) -- Passed Senate 2/23/11
  • Kentucky (SB 4) -- Passed Senate 1/7/11 -- Died: Legislature Adjourned 3/9/11
  • Louisiana (HB 509) -- Passed House 5/26/11 -- Passed Senate (amended) 6/20/11 -- Passed House 6/21/11 -- Signed 6/28/11
  • Maryland (HB 671) -- Passed House 3/23/11 -- Passed Senate 4/5/11 -- Signed 5/10/11
  • Maryland (SB 501) -- Passed Senate 3/29/11
  • Maryland (SB 820)
  • Massachusetts (H 1972)
  • Michigan (HB 4535)
  • Michigan (SB 584) -- Passed Senate 9/15/11 -- Passed House 9/20/11 -- Signed 10/4/11
  • Minnesota (HF 986)
  • Minnesota (SF 696)
  • Missouri (HB 3 -- Special Session) -- Passed House 9/9/11
  • Missouri (HB 10 -- Special Session)
  • Missouri (HB 121)
  • Missouri (HB 503) -- Passed House 3/31/11
  • Missouri (HB 694)
  • Missouri (SB 270) -- Passed Senate 4/21/11 -- Passed House (amended) 5/9/11
  • Missouri (SB 282) -- Passed Senate 3/31/11 -- Passed House (amended) 5/4/11 -- Passed Senate (amended) 5/10/11 -- Passed House 5/13/11 -- Vetoed 7/8/11
  • New Jersey (A757)
  • New Jersey (A3777) -- Passed Assembly 5/9/11 -- Passed Senate 6/29/11 -- Signed 9/26/11
  • New Jersey (S71)
  • New Jersey (S2883) -- Substituted by A 3777 6/29/11
  • New Mexico (SB 572) -- Died: Legislature Adjourned 3/19/11
  • New York (AB 8363) -- Substituted by SB 5753 6/17/11
  • New York (SB 5753) -- Passed Senate 6/17/11 -- Passed Assembly 6/17/11 -- Signed 7/13/11(?)
  • North Carolina (S440)
  • Ohio (HB 194) -- Passed House 5/18/11 -- Passed Senate (amended) 6/23/11 -- Passed House 6/29/11 -- Signed 7/5/11
  • Ohio (HB 318) -- Passed House 9/15/11 -- Passed Senate (amended) 10/20/11 -- Passed House 10/21/11 -- Signed 10/21/11
  • Ohio (HB 369) -- Passed House 12/14/11 -- Passed Senate 12/14/11 -- Signed 12/15/11 
  • Ohio (SB 217)
  • Oklahoma (HB 1057)
  • Oklahoma (HB 1614) -- Passed House 3/14/11 -- Passed Senate 4/25/11 -- Signed 5/2/11
  • Oklahoma (HB 1615) -- Passed House 3/16/11 -- Passed Senate (amended) 4/7/11 -- Passed House 5/3/11 -- Signed 5/10/11
  • Oklahoma (HB 2138)
  • Oklahoma (SB 602) -- Passed Senate 3/8/11
  • Oklahoma (SB 808) -- Passed Senate 3/1/11
  • Oregon (HB 2429)
  • Rhode Island (H 5653) -- Passed House 6/23/11 -- Passed Senate 6/29/11 -- Signed 7/12/11
  • Rhode Island (S 399) -- Passed Senate 4/28/11 -- Passed House (amended) 6/23/11 -- Passed Senate 6/28/11 -- Signed 7/1/11
  • Tennessee (HB 612) -- Passed House 4/14/11 -- Passed Senate 4/25/11 -- Signed 5/9/11
  • Tennessee (HB 760)
  • Tennessee (HB 793)
  • Tennessee (SB 599)
  • Tennessee (SB 929)
  • Tennessee (SB 1875)
  • Texas (HB 318)
  • Texas (SB 100) -- Passed Senate 4/14/11 -- Passed House (no April primary provision) 5/25/11
  • Utah (SB 3004) -- Passed Senate 10/3/11 -- Passed House 10/3/11 -- Signed 10/13/11
  • Virginia (HB 1667) -- Incorporated into HB 1843
  • Virginia (HB 1843) -- Passed House 2/8/11 -- Passed Senate 2/18/11 -- Signed 3/25/11
  • Virginia (SB 1246) -- Passed Senate 2/1/11 -- Passed House 2/15/11 -- Signed 3/25/11
  • Washington (HB 1324)
  • Washington (HB 1860) -- Passed House 3/5/11
  • Washington (SB 5119) -- Passed Senate 4/6/11 -- Passed House 4/19/11 -- Signed 5/12/11
  • Wisconsin (AB 162)
  • Wisconsin (SB 115) -- Passed Senate 6/8/11 -- Passed Assembly 9/13/11 -- Signed 9/30/11