Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Utah Republicans Opt to Link 2012 Presidential Primary to Late June State & Local Primaries

The Utah Republican State Executive Committee has voted to schedule the party's presidential primary for June 26, 2012. That fourth Tuesday in June date is the date on which the state has traditionally held its primaries for state and local offices. According to Bob Bernick at UtahPolicy.com, the state party had a decision to make between holding caucus meetings during the parties' mass meetings to start the state convention delegate selection process in March or moving the primary back to June to coincide with the other primaries in the state. The State Executive Committee opted for the latter. Concerns over keeping the contest closed to registered Republican voters were paramount in the committee's decision:
[Utah Republican Party Chairman Thomas] Wright said since Republicans hold closed primaries, with only registered party members voting, it would be a technical nightmare in the caucus meetings to try to determine who was legally a GOP registered voter – and thus able to cast a ballot in the presidential race.

It’s possible some registered Republicans would be turned away – making them really mad – while some Democrats or independents would be allowed to vote, violating GOP rules.

So, GOP Utah leaders decided it would just be better all around to hold their presidential primary on the regular primary election date – the last Tuesday in June.

Since both Democrats and Republicans will be holding any statewide or local primary elections on that June day, it won’t cost the state or counties any more money to hold a statewide presidential primary vote that day, said Wright.

Recall that what set this move to June in motion was the state legislature's decision during its January-March session not to fund the scheduled February 2012 presidential primary in the Beehive state. That shifted the decision to the state parties. Utah Democrats have already chosen to begin the delegate selection process with March 13 caucus meetings -- the former option mentioned above. Then again, Utah Democrats did not have much of a choice. The party could have opted for the mid-March caucuses or caucuses on some other date. The June primary would have been too late according to the Democratic National Committee's 2012 Delegate Selection Rules. Those rules mandate that non-exempt primaries and caucuses be scheduled between the first Tuesday in March and the second Tuesday in June (Rule 11.A). The RNC rules have a similar mandate on the front end of the calendar, but not on the back end. In other words, the late June presidential primary in Utah is compliant with the RNC rules but not with DNC rules.

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Anonymous said...

The decision to delay the Utah Republican Presidential Primary to late June is absolute insanity! I guess that the legislature figured it would be smarter to save the Utah taxpayers a few million dollars (or less) by not having an early primary and thus reduce the likelihood that Mitt Romney (the candidate who is most likely to defeat Obama) will win by having Utah's GOP Presidential Primary the last of all 50 states and, therefore, irrelevant. VERY POOR DECISION MAKING. How many billions of dollars will Obama end up costing Utah and our country if Mitt doesn't defeat him! Not to mention Jon Huntsman (Utah's former governor) being made irrelevant as well! Our legislators are apparently asleep at the wheel and so is our governor! Based on the poor decision of the legislature the Utah Republican party should have figured something out. If Mitt isn't the GOP presidential nominee for 2012 the coattails for other Utah GOP candidates won't exist either. Talk about penny wise and pound foolish!

Bertie Wooster said...

This may be a crackpot hypothesis, but my guess is that with Romney running and guaranteed to win Utah (he got ~90% in the 2008 Utah primary) there may have actually some strong disincentives for an early primary.

1) Romney winning Utah in late February would not cause any other candidate to say "gee, I lost Utah, so I better bow out." In general everyone expects a candidate to win his home state, and for Romney Utah is effectively one of his three home states, along with Michigan and Massachusetts.

2) If the race is close enough that Romney needs Utah's delegates, they will be there for him at the end. The Republican Party may actually give Utah extra delegates for having a late primary, so bonus.

3) Romney's 90% victory in 2008 actually turned off a lot of non-Mormons, who saw it as an example of groupthink mentality at work. I supported Romney in '08, but didn't even bother voting in the primary, as I knew his margin would be embarrassingly high. Better for Romney to not have that example fresh in people's minds.

4) I'm not sure how delegate allocation works in Utah, but with an early primary Jon Huntsman might be able to peel away votes and delegates from Romney. Huntsman should be out well before June. No way to embarrass him or steal his delegates.

Considering all that, I wouldn't be shocked if Romney's men actually discouraged Utah from scheduling an earlier presidential primary.

M & J's Computer Repair said...

Utah has to be the most idiotic state in the union. I cannot believe I live in a state full of idiots. OUR vote for the PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES is not even freaking counted you idiots!!!!! June 26 means that the race is over for the republicans. Idiots!!!!

Anonymous said...

This is indeed infuriating. It goes beyond "my vote not counting"...It deprives Utah of any attention from the national media or presidential candidates that could be beneficial for Utah in the long run. The nation and presidential candidates are now all familiar with the needs and issue facing other states because of their elections. Also, It would be nice to have the presidential candidates spending their money in our state too. My state senator and representative are going to know of my dissatisfaction.