Monday, March 7, 2011

Louisiana Republican Sees Need to Move Presidential Primary Back

Louisiana does not convene its 2011 state legislative session until next month, but already some within the state parties are raising the issue of the Pelican state's 2012 presidential primary date. Scheduled for the second Saturday in February next year, the Louisiana primary is one of nineteen that conflict with both national parties' rules on the timing of delegate selection events. Louisiana, along with any other contests penciled in for any time before March 6, 2012, faces losing at least half their delegates to the national conventions without a change. That problem has prompted one member of the Republican State Central Committee, Mike Bayham, to file a resolution -- within the party -- to call on the legislature to shift the primary back to the first Saturday after the first Tuesday of February. That would be the Saturday after the would-be Super Tuesday if the DNC and RNC have their way.

Of course there is no consensus behind the idea between the two parties in the state much less the within the legislature. Louisiana Republican Party chair, Roger Villere, favors moving the primary back past the first of April to preserve the state's ability to allocate its delegates in a winner-take-all manner. The RNC gives states the option of choosing how to allocated their delegates to the Republican National Convention in Tampa after that April threshold, but has instituted a new proportionality requirement for all states prior to that point on the calendar. Democrats in the state have to this point remained tight lipped about moving the primary, but under the Democrats' rules, legislators in the state have to make some effort to move the primary back or run the risk of losing more than 50% of the delegation to the Democrats' Charlotte convention (Rule 20.C.7). What remains to be seen, regardless of how the state parties feel about the matter, is how a narrowly divided legislature deals with the issue. Democrats control the state Senate by just two seats while Republicans have a four seat advantage in the state House.

Resolutions for the state parties or not, it will be next month before anything is known about what will happen with the 2012 presidential primary in Louisiana.

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