Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Midweek Update on Presidential Primary Movement

With the passage of SB 1246 in Virginia yesterday, the commonwealth moved closer to shifting its 2012 presidential primary back on the calendar to March. That said, there has been a lot of smaller movement this week on the primary date-setting front, that while not large in scope, is seemingly large in quantity. It is large enough to warrant noting at least.

In Virginia: One bill awaits the governor's signature while another is still chugging along. HB 1843, the House equivalent of HB 1246, emerged from committee yesterday (with a positive vote to pass -- 10Y, 1N) and should probably receive a floor vote by the end of the week. Both this bill and the one passed in the House of Delegates yesterday accomplish the same thing: moving the primary to the first Tuesday in March.

In Texas: The Democrat-filed bill to move the Lone Star state's presidential primary from the first week in March to the first Tuesday in February -- and into violation of the national parties' delegate selection rules -- was read into the record yesterday and referred to the Elections Committee in the Texas House. This is only significant because the bill was introduced in November and has been on the sidelines ever since. The big question in Texas is whether Republicans in the legislature are going to be to moving the state into violation of the parties' rules. On the one hand, the state would face sanctions. On the other, a state as big as Texas and as important to the Republican electoral vote coalition in the general election might deserve a better spot at the GOP nominating table, at least in the eyes of state legislators there.

In Washington: Two bills (HB 1324 and HB 1860) to either eliminate the presidential primary or tie its existence to its use for delegate selection by the two parties face public hearings in the State Government and Tribal Affairs Committee today. Little has trickled out of the Evergreen state following similar hearings on the Senate bill to eliminate the 2012 presidential primary, and FHQ is hesitant to expect much out of today's hearings. However, it is worth noting.

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