However, what I can't forgive is one bit of misinformation that made its way out of the proceedings that is bad, bad, bad. Here's the Q&A exchange with North Carolina State Senator Dan Blue fielding the questions (from DCC member, Suzi LeVine's notes):
WRUH-ONG! [It is difficult to make something monosyllabic, have two syllables.]
Q: what is the situation about states having separate state & presidential primaries? Ie – California did it.
A: expensive – but sense that California being so late is problematic. Last time California went early and they still didn’t get the attention. Very unsatisfactory then. State legislature seems to like moving it up. However, remember that incumbents benefit with an early primary ‘cause challengers haven’t been able to raise money and awareness and these positions are often chosen in the primaries.
Q: How would budget deficit in California affect 2012?
A: Bifurcating the 2 primaries is expensive. Usually have to stay unhitched to address local laws. Brought up the Affect of redistricting (will happen ‘cause of census)
Q: states with federal and state primaries on the same day?
A: most are together – but will find out exact number.
In fact, this is very wrong. By my count, the 2008 primary calendar saw just 13 states with presidential primaries and primaries for state and local offices held concurrently. The remaining states and territories had their presidential nomination contests separate from their statewide and local primaries. And I say nomination contests there because 24 of the remaining 37 states held two separate primaries while the remaining 13 held caucuses for presidential delegate selection and later primaries for the other offices.
|Together at Last, or Are They?|
Presidential Primaries and State and Local Primaries (2008)
|Concurrent Primaries||Split Primaries||Caucuses|
Here's the thing: This idea -- split primaries, as I've called them -- is the number one reason why some states have moved in the time since the McGovern-Fraser reforms that were instituted in 1972 and others have not. In the 1976-1996 period, presidential primary states that already had separate primaries were over five times more likely to move their contests to an earlier date than were those with concurrent presidential and state/local primaries. Once you add the cycles of the hyper-frontloaded era (2000-2008) -- when the incentive, like in 2008, was to move or get left out -- that effect dropped to only twice as likely. And no, that doesn't even take into account the caucus states. With those split caucus states included the effect is even greater.
Well, those states that have already severed the tie between the two primary types, and have institutionalized the resulting structure over successive presidential election cycles, don't face the same problem states with concurrent primaries have. Concurrent primary states face the start-up costs associated with funding an all new presidential primary election (see constant reference to California's expensive transition in 2008 in the quoted text above). The split primary states have already dealt with and absorbed that cost. Those states, then, are much freer to move their delegate selection events where they please. And since about 1980, the motivation has been to frontload.
So, do more states hold all their primaries together? No, they do not. Two-thirds of the country, in fact, hold separate contests.
*The data for the years prior to 2000 were gather from various sources by the author, but from 2000 onward were thankfully publicly available on The Green Papers.
**Texas could also fall into the caucus category simply because of its hybrid prima-caucus system.
***Arkansas was split for 2008, but has already passed legislation that will eliminate the separate primary in 2012.
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