The Michigan Republican Party State Central Committee met this past Saturday and voted to move the Great Lakes State presidential primary to March 15, 2016 and to make a small change to the way in which the party allocates delegates to candidates.
Moving forward, the biggest thing where Michigan's position on the 2016 presidential primary calendar is concerned is what the state legislature does. What the Michigan Republican Party voted on on Saturday was a measure that is completely dependent upon action from the state legislature. It -- March 15 -- is not binding unless the state party opts to fund the election itself. Otherwise, the state legislature will have to change the date of the primary from the last Tuesday in February (where it is currently scheduled). Any change there may also later prove to be a function of the party or parties that control the state legislature and governor's mansion after the elections in November.
More meaningfully, the change to the allocation rules is something that the party has autonomy over. That takes effect immediately, but only represents a minor change. The allocation will be conditionally winner-take-all, meaning that if a candidate cross the 50% threshold, that candidate will receive the entire allotment of Michigan delegates.1 Should no candidate clear that barrier, it appears the plan will be just as it was in 2012. The winner of each congressional district would receive three delegates and the statewide winner would receive a number of delegates proportional to his or her share of the vote.
That was the intent of the plan in 2012. And that will likely be how the plan is implemented in 2016 unless the field of Republican candidates has been winnowed down to a couple of candidates. Depending on how the overall calendar shapes up, March 15 will still be ahead of the point on the calendar at which 50% of the delegates will have been allocated. It will still likely be early enough, in other words, for that number to be higher than two.
1 This differs slightly from the description FHQ provided last week. I said at the time that only the statewide, at-large delegates would be winner-take-all, rather than the full allotment.
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