Friday, May 28, 2010

New 2012 Rules, New 2012 Primary Calendar

The following is a look at the calendar with Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina placed where the national parties have specified and when contests in the remaining primary states are scheduled according to state law. For a glimpse at what the 2012 presidential primary calendar looks like currently, click here.

No, nothing is official and nothing will be regarding the 2012 presidential nomination rules until August. However, let's assume for a moment that the rules as currently proposed in both parties will be adopted. That means that Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina can hold contests in February while the remaining states and territories have to carve out a space between the first Tuesday in March and the first Tuesday in June. The scuttlebutt from New Hampshire -- at least following the Republican Temporary Delegate Selection Committee recommendations -- has been that, under that scenario, Iowa would hold its caucuses on the first Monday in February followed by the New Hampshire primary eight days later. Nevada and South Carolina would hold their events at least a week later. Then, once March 7 hits, all the remaining states would be free to schedule their delegate selection events.

Yes FHQ, but how would the calendar look? I'm glad you asked.

2012 Presidential Primary Calendar (under proposed new rules--pre-sanction)

Tuesday, January 31
: Florida

Monday, February 6: Iowa caucuses

Tuesday, February 7 (Super Tuesday): Alabama, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Utah

Saturday, February 11: Louisiana

Tuesday, February 14: New Hampshire, Maryland, Virginia

Tuesday, February 21: Nevada caucuses, South Carolina Republican primary, Hawaii Republican caucuses, Wisconsin

Tuesday, February 28: Arizona**, Michigan***

Tuesday, March 6: Massachusetts***, Ohio, Rhode Island, Texas and Vermont

Tuesday, March 13: Mississippi

Tuesday, March 20: Colorado caucuses****, Illinois

Tuesday, April 24: Pennsylvania

Tuesday, May 8: Indiana, North Carolina and West Virginia

Tuesday, May 15: Nebraska, Oregon

Tuesday, May 22: Arkansas, Idaho, Kentucky

Tuesday, June 5: Montana, New Mexico***** and South Dakota

*New Hampshire law calls for the Granite state to hold a primary on the second Tuesday of March or seven days prior to any other similar election, whichever is earlier. Florida is first now, so New Hampshire would be a week earlier at the latest. Traditionally, Iowa has gone on the Monday a week prior to New Hampshire. For the time being we'll wedge Nevada and South Carolina in on the Saturday between New Hampshire and Florida, but these are just guesses at the moment. Any rogue states could cause a shift.

**In Arizona the governor can use his or her proclamation powers to move the state's primary to a date on which the event would have an impact on the nomination. In 2004 and 2008 the primary was moved to the first Tuesday in February.

***Massachusetts and Michigan are the only states that passed a frontloading bill prior to 2008 that was not permanent. The Bay state reverts to its first Tuesday in March date in 2012 while Michigan will fall back to the fourth Tuesday in February.

****The Colorado Democratic and Republican parties have the option to move their caucuses from the third Tuesday in March to the first Tuesday in February.

*****The law in New Mexico allows the parties to decide when to hold their nominating contests. The Democrats have gone in early February in the last two cycles, but the GOP has held steady in June. They have the option of moving however.

No, I doubt Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina volunteer to take those spots, too. None of those states will jump first and wait on the remaining early states to move back to comply with the national parties' proposed rules. Iowa won't volunteer to go after Florida and New Hampshire won't willingly hold its primary after Super Tuesday. Iowa and New Hampshire are never the first to move anyway. They reserve the right to move last -- after every other state has locked into position.

FHQ doesn't want to risk beating a dead horse here, but this is just another way of showing how difficult it is going to be for the parties to get those February states in line. The "yes, but look what happens if we stay put" argument comes out in full force if there isn't an adequate enforcement mechanism in place. I think Florida would quite like this set up, don't you? Of course, Iowa and New Hampshire would shift the dates of their contests to something like this* if that happened.


Anonymous said...

The dates on your calendar are not in line with your statement. Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina can hold contests in February while the remaining states and territories have to carve out a space between the first Tuesday in March and the first Tuesday in June.

Shouldn't your dates be different? Why is Florida listed first? And why is Super Tuesday and Louisiana listed before New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina?

Josh Putnam said...

This calendar assumes that the four exempt states go along with the proposed rules. Basically, they move first and wait to see if the other states (such as Florida) change their election laws to comply with those rules.

This is an exercise, not a reality. The reality is that Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina will not move first. Each will see what the other states do and schedule their contests accordingly. The exempt states will only go along with the new rules if all the other states comply. However, the point of this post was to show the parties' idealized placement of those exempt states interspersed with where state law actually has the other primary states at this time.

Good question. That did need some clarification.

Christy AKReport said...

were is Alaska, or am I blind?

Josh Putnam said...

You're not blind, Christy. Alaska and most other caucus states are not included because they have either not announced a date for 2012 or are not controlled by the state (re: funding).

Hawaii Republicans, for instance, settled on their caucus date at their convention in 2009. Colorado and Minnesota are caucuses with dates determined by state law. All the other caucuses, with the exception of the three exempt caucuses, are up in the air and are suppressed from this calendar until they announce a date.