Monday, June 27, 2011

An Update on the Situation with the South Carolina Presidential Primary

Well, that caucus thing isn't happening. According to Danny Yadron at the Washington Wire blog:1

“That is not on the table and will not happen,” state GOP Executive Director Matt
Moore told Washington Wire. “We got a good start on fund-raising.”

Later, South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson clarified the issue of either of the state parties contracting the South Carolina Elections Commission -- the institution that carried out the 2008 presidential primaries for the state/parties -- to do the same in 2012, but with state party funding. Wilson's statement:
"Unless the statute is repealed, or a court concludes otherwise, we believe the answer to your question is yes," the opinion states. "The State Election Commission possesses the authority either to conduct the Presidential Preference Primary itself, or, in the alternative, to contract with the parties to do so."
That frees the South Carolina Republican Party to use the commission, but still puts the party in the position of having to raise the money necessary to hold a primary in 2012. The only remaining piece of that puzzle is how much of the estimated $1.5 million will the party have to raise. Nearly $700,000 left over from the 2010 cycle had been earmarked in the budget that passed the state legislature as available for the primary. The question was whether Governor Nikki Haley (R) would veto that part of the bill. The answer, due tomorrow, appears to be yes according to anonymous sources close to Haley.

In summary, then, there will be no last minute substitute caucuses, and the party-funded primary can be run by the South Carolina Elections Commission.

1 Yadron also tagged the line, "The state Democratic Party doesn't plan to hold a 2012 primary." onto the end of the post. The South Carolina Democratic Party's 2012 delegate selection plan proposal seems to refute that notion. There may not be a competitive Democratic primary in the Palmetto state, but it looks like they intend to hold a primary.

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