Thursday, February 10, 2011

Bills Introduced in Both Chambers to Move Tennessee Presidential Primary to March

On February 10, bills were introduced in both the Tennessee state House and Senate to shift the Volunteer state's presidential primary back to March where the primary was between the 1988 and 2000 cycles. While the presidential primary during those years was on the second Tuesday in March, the current legislation would move it from the first Tuesday in February to the first Tuesday in March. This would be the third consecutive cycle Tennessee has moved its primary -- from the second Tuesday in March to the second Tuesday in February in 2004 and up to the first Tuesday in February in 2008.

Tennessee, like Florida, is under unified Republican control, but in contrast to the Sunshine state, Republicans in the Tennessee General Assembly are the ones pushing, or at least proposing, the date change. In the House, Rep. Gerald McCormick (R-26, Chattanooga) introduced HB 612, and Sen. Mark Norris (R-32, Collierville) introduced SB 599. As was the case in Maryland, these legislators are members of the leadership in their respective chambers. McCormick is the Republican leader in the House and Norris is the majority leader in the Senate. Leadership sponsorship does not guarantee a bill will pass, but it won't hurt its chances.

The change to March, if codified, would bring Tennessee back into compliance with the 2012 delegate selection rules in both national parties.

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