Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Clarification Needed: Article Seemingly Muddies the Michigan Presidential Primary Picture

Laura Weber at Interlochen Public Radio penned an interesting piece yesterday that really confuses -- in FHQ's eyes anyway -- the outlook on the Michigan presidential primary. After the Michigan Republican Party State Committee voted this past weekend in favor of a resolution to schedule its primary within a February 28-March 6 window, the decision seemingly went off to the state legislature. Now there, the decision yields three possible options:
  1. Do nothing and keep the presidential primary on February 28 where current state law schedules the primary.
  2. Move the primary somewhere in the range cited above.
  3. Ignore the party's request and move the primary into a position -- regardless of the national party penalties -- that would maximize Wolverine state Republicans' influence.
As FHQ mentioned previously, the first option -- the path of least resistance -- seemed the most likely choice. Yet, the IPR article casts some doubt on that -- or just flubs the story altogether. The premise of the story at the outset is that Republican leaders in the Republican-controlled Michigan Senate support a February 28 primary date. Again, that demonstrates that path of least resistance even though it would potentially mean sanctions from the national party.

Fair enough. Further down in the article, though, Weber then writes/quotes:
"I think there's going to be a real relevance - Michigan is going to be really relevant in the decision making process because of this date," says Republican state Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville, who plans to sponsor legislation that would allow the state to hold the Republican primary earlier than most states.
Michigan Senate leaders, then, support the status quo option, yet their leader is set to sponsor legislation to move it. That apparent contradiction can mean three things:
  1. The article is wrong regarding either the legislation or state Senate Republicans' support of the February 28 primary date. Keeping the primary on that date requires no additional legislation.
  2. The legislation cited proposes moving the primary to a non-Tuesday primary date within the state party-designated February 28-March 6 window; a date "earlier than most states," but not on February 28. Thus a change in the law becomes necessary. Given that there are other elections on the same date in Michigan, this option would seem highly unlikely.
  3. The legislation cited proposes moving the primary to a date earlier than the the party-designated window; something similar to the legislation that was introduced in the state House back in April (January 31 primary date).
FHQ won't even hazard a guess in this instance. There just isn't enough information. All we know is that there is legislation that may be introduced in the state Senate that may affect the presidential primary. Whether the legislation impacts the date is unknown though moving the date is implied in the aforementioned quoted portion from the IRP article. The Senate is next in session for one day on August 24, but resumes in full, like the House, on September 7-28. We won't know about any legislation officially until then. Hopefully, however, some clarification will surface prior to that point next week.


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