On the heels of the announcement Tuesday that Connecticut was set to consider a move to February 5, several other states got closer to moving their own delegate selection events.
Barack Obama's campaign got a bit of a boost yesterday when his home state of Illinois took the first step toward moving its 2008 presidential primary into the logjam on February 5. The Illinois House overwhelming (110-4) backed a plan to move the primary from March 20 to February 5 according to the Chicago Tribune. This would give Obama a good chance at a potentially "easy" state with numerous delegates. But it would be a state that he would absolutely have to take, one would think, to remain viable in the contest. I haven't strayed to far into candidate strategy in the blog thus far, but there is a scenario where he could win several other prized states and still lose Illinois. Typically though, losing one's home state is a harbinger of things to come and is certainly something that would get some mileage in the press.
As reported at newshorn.com, Louisiana Secretary of State, Jay Dardenne, mentioned in a radio interview that plans to move the state's 2008 presidential primary to an even earlier date than the current February 9 date are being considered by the state legislature. One interesting plan being considered is making the primary a non-binding beauty contest and holding it simultaneously with the November 2007 gubernatorial election in the state. In Dardenne's own words, this would save the state the one and a half million dollars the presidential primary would ordinarily cost. Additionally, the non-binding nature of the contest would exempt it from the delegate selection rules of both national parties.
Another article in the Chicago Tribune yesterday discussed the possibilities being considered by the two major parties in Michigan. Like South Carolina, the state parties in Michigan determine when and what kind of delegate selection event to hold. State Republicans are looking at January 29 (South Carolina Democratic and Florida primaries) and February 2 (South Carolina GOP primary) as possible dates to replace the current February 26 date. The Democrats, already tentatively scheduled for a February 9 (Louisiana primary) caucus, are considering a move to an even earlier date if more states move ahead of February 5 in defiance of the Democrats' delegate selection rules. As Michigan Democratic Party chairman, Mark Brewer said,
"We're still determined to go earlier than any state that violates the scheduling rules. That applies to New Hampshire. It applies to any state. Any state that violates the schedule will trigger us going earlier."
Another possibility is that both state parties agree to hold either their caucuses or semi-closed primaries on the same day.
Oregon's legislature has also been tinkering with the idea of moving the state's May 20 presidential primary to, believe it or not, February 5. That plan (House Bill 2084) unanimously passed the House Elections, Ethics and Rules Committee yesterday, blogger Edward Walsh at The Oregonian reported. Because of the plan's $2.3 to $2.8 million price tag, it must first clear the Joint Ways and Means Committee before moving on to a formal vote.
No paper in Texas wanted to report what House committee in the Texas legislature passed a plan to move the state's 2008 primary to February 5, only that it has passed a committee. Of those papers in major Texas cities, the Dallas Morning News has the most informative summary. Even that may be due to the fact that a local representative, Helen Giddings, introduced the bill (HB 2017). The Texas legislature's web site confirms that HB 2017 was voted on and passed by the House Elections Committee. Here is the bill's language and here are the minutes from the committee's meeting. The plan would move the primary from the first Tuesday in March to the first Tuesday in February.