Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Bill Introduced in Michigan House to Move Presidential Primary to January

On Tuesday, April 12, Representative Paul Scott (R-51st, Grand Blanc) introduced HB 4535 in the Michigan House. The legislation would shift the presidential primary in the Wolverine state from the fourth Tuesday in February to the last Tuesday in January -- the same date on which the Florida presidential primary is currently scheduled. It is ironic that this bill was introduced just a day before news that Michigan Democrats would hold May caucuses in 2012 and that news broke of a proposal to form a committee to set the date of the 2012 primary in Florida. Of course the window of time granted the Florida committee allows it to place the primary there between the first Tuesdays of January and March; keeping Florida in violation of national party rules.

Michigan now joins Florida and Missouri as the only states with active legislation to maintain dates that defy those national party rules. There are also a few states -- New York, Arizona, Wisconsin and Delaware -- that have proposed no legislation to change the dates of primaries that are currently non-compliant. Those states, however, are not actively attempting to break the rules as laid out by both the DNC and RNC.

This move could set off a long ordeal with the RNC as it is conceivable that the Republican-controlled legislature could pass the bill and send it off to Republican Governor Rick Snyder to sign into law. What further complicates matters is that the Michigan legislature is a year-round legislature and could be dealing with this into the fall.

It should also be noted that this move potentially pairs Michigan and Florida again in the same roles they played relative to the primary calendar in 2008.

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