Saturday, January 15, 2011

2012 Presidential Primary Movement: The Week in Review (Jan. 10-16)

Depending upon how much action there is on this front from week to week, FHQ will gather all the state-level efforts to position themselves for influence on the 2012 presidential nominations. At this point in time, it is and has been all about state legislatures attempting to change the dates on which their presidential primaries will be held according to the election laws on the books in those states. The state parties -- the groups responsible for the decision -- in traditional caucus states have been quiet so far. That should change as this continues to play out through the winter and into the spring.

So, after this week, what is known?
  • As has been mentioned in this space several times, there are currently 18 states with presidential primaries scheduled for February 2012. That would put those 18 states in violation of both parties' delegate selection rules for 2012.
  • Of those 18 primary states, 13 of them (California, Connecticut, Missouri, New York, Arizona, Georgia, Delaware, Tennessee, Wisconsin, Maryland, Michigan, New Jersey and Virginia) have convened their 2011 state legislative sessions.
  • Of those 13 states, 3 (California, New Jersey and Virginia) have bills that have been introduced and are active within the state legislature to move their contests' dates. Both California and New Jersey have bills that would eliminate an early and separate presidential primaries and position those events with the other primaries for state and local offices. That would mean June presidential primaries for both states if those bills pass and are signed into law.
  • One additional early state from the 2008 cycle, Washington, has proposed temporarily (for the 2012 cycle) canceling the state's presidential primary. That primary is currently scheduled for the fourth Tuesday in May according to the law. However, that same law allows the secretary of state to propose a different date and the state parties can propose their own alternative. If either or both propose(s) a different date a bipartisan committee (made up of party members and state government officials), by a two-thirds vote, has to approve the change.
  • No additional state legislatures (among those 18 early states) convenes during the upcoming week. Utah will be the next to enter its legislative session the week after next. Oklahoma (February), Alabama (March), Florida (March) and Louisiana (April) get down to work later in the year.
  • For this next week, the 13 early states in conflict with the national parties' rules will be the ones to watch.

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