Ah, what could have been. Today is the day New Hampshire's presidential primary could have been held. Sure, it turned out that December 11 was nothing more than a Bill Gardner scare tactic to show the rest of the states considering crowding New Hampshire at the front of the line that the state would not be crowded. But it is fun to think of how different the last two and half weeks would have been if Gardner had announced a move to Dec. 11 back on the day before Thanksgiving. The direction of the race would have taken on a completely different tilt. On the Republican side: Would Huckabee have risen the way he has or would he be peaking at the right time? Would Romney have made his religion speech or held that until the time between New Hampshire and the Iowa caucuses (if it was even necessary)? On the Democratic side: Would the coronation of Hillary Clinton have begun? She's comfortably ahead in New Hampshire and having that contest first would have been a potential boon to her chances. From her campaign's perspective, it sure beats the three-way dead heat that polls in Iowa are showing. Would we even be talking about Obama and Edwards? For this cycle though, we'll have to live with the ho-hum IA-NH-some other states-Super Tuesday progression toward the nominations in both parties.
Fine, I missed the boat on New Hampshire's announcement to hold their primary on January 8. "And you call yourself Frontloading HQ?" Well yeah, I guess I still do. I will admit that the timing of the announcement was odd. It came across like one of those Friday afternoon leaks of information to the press that presidential administrations have always had an affinity for. It just got lost in the shuffle on a day when folks were preparing to give thanks. Of course those in the Granite State may be thankful that the powers that be (Secretary of State Bill Gardner) didn't rock the boat too much (Dec. 11 primary) triggering reform that could have bumped New Hampshire from its lofty position at the front of the primary line.
After having the January 15 primary struck down by a circuit court, the state appealed the decision only to have the state Court of Appeals affirm the lower court's ruling (that public voter lists should not go exclusively to two private entities, the state parties) on November 16.
Incidentally, that date was to have been the date on which the two parties were to have decided if they were even going to opt into the primary system set up in the initial law. The state then appealed to the state Supreme Court and won a 4-3 decision, putting the January 15 primary back in place. That triggered the New Hampshire announcement later in the afternoon.
The state legislature in Massachusetts also made news by moving the state's 2008 presidential primary from the first Tuesday in March to the first Tuesday in February. The bill, SB 2414 made it through the Senate on Nov. 15 (by a vote of 33-5), the House on Nov. 20 (by a vote of 135-17) and was signed by Gov. Deval Patrick on Nov. 26. So, now Massachusetts joins half the country on February 5 for the Super Tuesday extravaganza that will (if you follow the model established in the years since 1988) most likely determine the nominees from both parties.