Thursday, June 6, 2013

DC Bill Would Move District's Presidential Primary to June

A bill introduced in early May in the Council of the District of Columbia would shift back the date of the presidential primary in the nation's capital. B20-0265 proposes moving the primary from the first Tuesday in April to the second Tuesday after the first Monday in June.

This potential move in interesting in a couple of respects.
  1. The introduced 2011 legislation that ultimately moved the Washington, DC primary from the second Tuesday in February, where it coincided with primaries in neighboring Maryland and Virginia -- the Potomac Primary -- in 2008, called for shifting the primary back to June. That bill started off in the same form before being amended in committee and passed/signed, moving the DC primary to April. 
  2. This push back to June is not motivated by a need to consolidate the presidential primaries with those for other District-wide offices. The same 2011 legislation accomplished that as well. This was the same sort of cost-saving measure that was taken in other states across the country in 2011 including in Alabama, California and New Jersey.
It is unclear, then, what the motivation for the move is. One could speculate that the intent is to shorten the general election campaigns for local officials by two months. If this rescheduling takes place, it would position DC at the very last point on the calendar -- the second Tuesday in June1 -- that both national parties allow.

UPDATE (12/17/14): Bill passes DC Council
UPDATE (2/6/15): Bill signed, cleared for congressional review

1 Of course, in years in which June 1 is on a Tuesday, the second Tuesday after the first Monday in June would actually be the third Tuesday in June. Noncompliant under the parties' current rules.

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