Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Follow Up on March Arizona Democratic Caucuses

Before the holidays, FHQ had the opportunity to speak with Arizona Democratic Party Executive Director Luis Heredia about the state party decision to abandon the February primary for late March caucuses. The motivation(s) for the move was obvious. The primary, scheduled for February 28 would have been non-compliant given the DNC rules on the timing of delegate selection events. That would have potentially cost the state half its delegation to the Democratic convention in Charlotte. But as FHQ pointed out in the earlier post on the move, since the state government is controlled by the Republican Party -- both a Republican governor and a Republican-controlled legislature -- the decision on when the primary would be held has been out of the hands of Arizona Democrats all year. That could have been grounds for the submission of a waiver similar to the ones applied for by both Missouri and Minnesota.

I was curious if a waiver had been considered. Mr. Heredia told FHQ that the idea was out there but was never really considered by ADP. Furthermore, the party had in place a plan to shift to a caucus as early as May when its draft delegate selection plan was submitted to the DNC Rules and Bylaws Committee. The party, however, waited on both the drawn out process of setting the date of the Arizona presidential primary and the redistricting situation to resolve itself -- considering a ballot proposition if the Republican challenge to the commission-drawn districts had been successful -- before pulling the trigger on the primary to caucus change.Like Democrats in Michigan, ADP also considered tweaking Arizona Republicans over the $5 million price tag on the primary but ultimately did switch to a caucus.

Regardless, the Arizona Republican Party will utilize the February 28 primary while Democrats in the state will begin the delegate selection process on March 31 in caucuses.

1 The Arizona Democratic Party State Committee made the decision on November 21, 2011.

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