Wednesday, February 4, 2009

1980 Presidential Primary Calendar


January 21: Iowa caucuses (both parties)
January 22: Hawaii Republican caucuses

February 1: Maine Republican caucuses (through March 15)
February 2: Arkansas Republican caucuses
February 4: Wyoming Republican caucuses (through March 5)
February 10: Maine Democratic caucuses
February 26: Minnesota caucuses (both parties), New Hampshire primary

March: Virginia Republican caucuses (through April)
March 4: Massachusetts primary, Vermont primary (beauty contest--no delegates at stake)
March 8: South Carolina Republican primary (party-run)
March 11: Alabama primary, Alaska Democratic caucuses, Florida primary, Georgia primary, Hawaii Democratic caucuses, Oklahoma Democratic caucuses, Washington caucuses (both parties)
March 12: Delaware Democratic caucuses
March 15: Mississippi Democratic caucuses, South Carolina Democratic caucuses, Wyoming Democratic caucuses
March 18: Illinois primary
March 21: North Dakota Republican caucuses
March 22: Virginia Democratic caucuses
March 25: Connecticut primary, New York primary

April 1: Kansas primary, Wisconsin primary
April 5: Louisiana primary, Missouri Republican caucuses (through April 12)
April 7: Oklahoma Republican caucuses
April 12: Arizona Democratic caucuses
April 13: Arizona Republican committee meeting (& caucuses)
April 17: Idaho Democratic caucuses
April 19: Alaska Republican convention (through April 20), North Dakota Democratic caucuses
April 22: Missouri Democratic caucuses, Pennsylvania primary, Vermont caucuses (both parties)
April 26: Michigan Democratic caucuses
April 30: Delaware Republican committee meeting (& caucuses)

May 3: Texas primary (Republicans), Texas Democratic caucuses
May 5: Colorado caucuses (both parties)
May 6: Indiana primary, North Carolina primary, Tennessee primary
May 13: Maryland primary, Nebraska primary
May 19: Utah caucuses (both parties)
May 20: Michigan primary (Republicans), Oregon primary
May 27: Arkansas primary (Democrats), Idaho primary (Republicans), Kentucky primary, Nevada primary

June 3: California primary, Mississippi Republican primary (party-run), Montana primary (Democrats), New Jersey primary, New Mexico primary, Ohio primary, Rhode Island primary, South Dakota primary, West Virginia primary
June 4: Montana Republican caucuses (through June 12)

[Primaries in bold]

States that are split vertically had different dates for different party contests. The shade to the left of that line corresponds with the month in which the Democratic contest took place and the right side represents the Republican contest.

[Source: Congressional Quarterly and news accounts from 1980. The latter was used to double-check the dates or discover missing ones.]

A few notes:
1) This is a classically backloaded calendar. There were 27 states that held primaries in which both parties participated. Of those 27, 15 were held on May 6 or later. If this is expanded to included states where just one party held a primary (either opting into the state-funded primary or holding a party-run contest), the total number of primary states rises to 34. Of those 34, 20 were on or after May 6.
2) The date on which the most contests were held was June 3. Nine states had contests on the first Tuesday in June. However, the second largest collection of nominating contests was during the second week in March. Altogether, seven states held primaries or caucuses on that date; the first early Super Tuesday. Much of this was due to the Carter administration-brokered movement in Alabama and Georgia. The move was made as an effort to give the president a counter to the victories Ted Kennedy could have gotten in New Hampshire and Massachusetts, two and one week earlier, respectively. Those moves were the first conscious frontloading moves by states.
3) The number of intra-state primary/caucus splits between the parties grew compared to 1976. Whereas Montana was the only state with one party opting into the state-funded primary while the other held a caucus in 1976, seven states had such party-based contest divisions in 1980.


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