Tuesday, March 22, 2011

More on the Possible Mid-Atlantic Primary

FHQ is late to this, but we did want to document what happened late last week with the development of the so-called Mid-Atlantic Primary that would coordinate the primaries in Delaware, Maryland and Washington DC. Maryland and DC are moving ahead with plans to shift their respective primaries to the first Tuesday in April, but as of now, despite the mentions of it in press reports on what is happening in both Maryland and DC,1 Delaware has remained quiet. Now, that doesn't mean that nothing is going on in the First state, but the progress on moving the presidential primary date there is lagging compared to their neighbors to the south.

And really there was no direct mention of either Delaware or DC in the testimony from Linda Lamone from the State Board of Elections last week in the hearings (March 16, 2011) on the state Senate bills before the Education, Health and Environmental Affairs Committee last Wednesday. There was instead talk of coordination with other, unnamed states and an overwhelming sense -- given the comments from the committee -- that the bipartisan support behind the move to April among the Maryland Senate leadership (SB 820) trumped the alternative bill (SB 501) to move the date to the first Tuesday in March. Meanwhile, the state House bill (HB 671) to move the presidential primary to April -- having had a similar hearing the week before -- was reported favorably from the House Ways and Means Committee and is on its way to being voted on soon after a second reading on the floor.

In Washington, the story is similar. An amended version of the introduced bill to change the dates of the presidential primary and that for local primaries in the District as well emerged from committee and received its first reading and vote last Tuesday. The 10-2 vote on the 13 member Council is indicative of the level of support the bill (B19-0090) has on the Council. The bill would now move those primaries to the first Tuesday in April as opposed to the second Tuesday after the first Monday in June.

And now Delaware the nation tuns its lonely eyes to you.

Maryland political leaders, including U.S. House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer, have been coordinating with Delaware and D.C. to hold their presidential primaries on the same day, to gain more national recognition, [Gov. O'Malley's lobbyist, Stacy] Mayer said. No agreement has been reached yet, she said.

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