- It is too early. There may be movement in state legislatures right now concerning 2012 presidential primary positioning, but if history is our guide, much of it will be unsuccessful. Why? Well, for starters, we don't know the delegate selection rules for 2012 yet. Under normal circumstances we would have an idea of those rules. Let's take the Republicans first. The Republican Party would have set their rules at the convention last September, but has allowed for rules tinkering between conventions for the first time. In other words, we knew the 2008 Republican delegate selection rules in September 2004, but have no idea of knowing when they'll nail this down ahead of 2012. We do know that new RNC Chair Michael Steele will have a significant impact on the process. On the Democratic side, the rules are largely inconsequential because a primary challenge of President Obama is highly unlikely. With both parties' rules still unsettled, most legislatures are collectively taking a wait and see approach. [Rules aside, most of the primary movement over the course of the last few cycles was solidified in state legislatures after the midterm elections. And not knowing the rules is exacerbating this issue.]
- With only the GOP nomination likely at stake, Republican-controlled state legislatures and Republican state parties (in the case of caucus movement) have the highest probability of moving or protecting an early date. In other words, a bill sponsored by a Democrat (as HB759 is) concerned with Democratic Party compliance is not likely to be high on the House GOP leadership's list of priorities. In Florida's case, both the legislature (both houses: House: 63% GOP, Senate: 65% GOP) and the governor's office are Republican-controlled. As such, Florida is more likely to hang onto its early position in 2012 or to wait it out to see if the state's primary date is out of compliance with RNC rules when those are settled on.
Thanks to Ballot Access News for breaking the news of the Florida bill. It is odd that it slipped through unnoticed since being introduced two weeks ago today (February 6).
NOTE: Also, I've been lax on discussing the committee being formed in Indiana to look at the presidential primary process in the Hoosier state (There's more here.). The main question: Should the state move its primary or not? I'll have something substantive on that hopefully this weekend.
1992 Presidential Primary Calendar
The 2012 Presidential Primary Calendar (2/19/09)
Beebe's Signature Makes It Official: Arkansas Back to May