Friday, July 1, 2011

More from Secretary Kemp on Coupling Georgia's Presidential Primary with Florida's

Joshua Stewart of Georgia Public Broadcast got a few additional comments out of Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp on the issue of the timing of the Peach state's presidential primary next year:

“You sometimes feel like the president is picked in Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina and that’s maybe not a general consensus of what the real electorate throughout the country may be thinking,” Kemp said.

“If there was a way we could have our date the same as theirs, I think it would be attractive for candidates to be able to come and campaign in both these states because you could hit both states in one day [and] we have media markets that overlap,” Kemp said. “There’s just a lot of good synergy.”
The first statement is a throw-away. I'll reiterate what I've said before on this point: the national parties will be the ones to determine whether Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina and winnowing the fields "properly" or creating a "general consensus" of which the parties are not supportive. That hasn't happened yet.

Now, the second point is more useful. It is more evidence that Kemp is open to the idea of coupling the Georgia primary with the contest in Florida. The reporting on this has attempted to link the Georgia situation with the recent stories about a brokered March 1 (or 2 or 3) date for the Florida primary. That, I think, doesn't accurately capture the situation. As I've tried to argue, Florida wants the fifth position behind Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina, and if other states threaten that, Florida is likely not going to be willing to slip into an early, but only slightly non-compliant March position. If Michigan jumps to January, for instance, Florida isn't necessarily going to sit idly by and accept an early March position while the early four states bump their own contests up.

To be clear, Kemp made his initial comments to Jim Galloway at the AJC in the context of the possibility of a March Florida primary, but that does not mean that Georgia won't go earlier than that. Recall also, that even if Florida has a problem with Georgia holding a primary concurrently with the Sunshine state primary, it won't matter. Florida law requires a decision from the Presidential Preference Primary Date Selection Committee by October 1 and Secretary Kemp has an additional two months beyond that (December 1) to make his decision regarding the Georgia primary.


Anonymous said...

Given the Oct 1 deadline for submitting delegate selection plans to the RNC, would they need to settle on a date by then?

Josh Putnam said...

Good question.

I've always been VERY hesitant about making too much of the RNC or DNC deadlines for solidifying delegate selection plans. On the one hand, most states respect it (The DNC requires an earlier submission of plans for approval and revision before "hopefully" nailing things down in September usually.). On the other, there are inevitably states that ignore it altogether. I'll have to find the earlier post where I specified the 2008 cycle deadline for the Republicans, but if memory serves, it was in mid-September.

So, not only did most of the early states violate that deadline, but others did as well. Iowa Republicans settled on a date in October and New Hampshire in November (decision made by a Democratic secretary of state). Michigan barely made that deadline and Massachusetts (again, controlled by Democrats) moved in November.

And all of those moves were made after the deadline, costing them nothing as far as I can tell. I don't know that there is any penalty associated with violating this rule. It is more a courtesy to the parties and candidates. As I said, most states respect the deadline.

...but that doesn't mean that Georgia will later this year.