Thursday, May 28, 2009

No Split in Springfield...Illinois

Not this year anyway.

The efforts in Illinois General Assembly to split off the state's primaries for statewide and local offices from the presidential primary looks to have failed. Last Friday (May 22) was the last day for House bills to receive a third reading in the Senate (and likewise Senate bills in the House) and be passed before the Assembly adjourns on May 31 (this coming Sunday). Neither of the efforts to move the state primaries to March or June made it out of committee.

For now that keeps Illinois' congressional primaries in February; the earliest such primaries in the country. The US has obviously become more accustomed to lengthy presidential campaigns, but the Illinois congressional general election campaign lasting nine months was a record in 2008. At issue are the savings the state gains from holding the two sets of primaries together. And in this economy, state legislators are hesitant to sign off on any measuring that would see the budget balloon any further.

Of course, around the state there has been some level of displeasure with the burden the early date and even earlier filing deadlines places on prospective challengers to incumbents in these primaries. But that fact has been outweighed by the need to save money in a difficult economic climate.

[Hat tip: Ballot Access News for the Lake Forester editorial link about the burden on challengers.]

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