Monday, November 10, 2014

"SEC Presidential Primary" Back on the Radar for 2016

Jim Galloway and Greg Bluestein at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution report that Georgia Secretary of State, Brian Kemp (R) is still working on a southern regional primary for March 1, 2016:
"Secretary of State Brian Kemp’s efforts to build what he calls an “SEC” presidential primary in 2016 appear to be proceeding apace.  
"Kemp is working with his counterparts in Mississippi, Louisiana, Tennessee, Arkansas and Alabama to arrange a coordinated, regional primary for the first Tuesday in March 2016.  
"In a letter to six Southern secretaries of state, Kemp confirmed that he intends to set March 1 as the date for Georgia’s presidential primary:
'It is my hope that our region will participate together that day and that the voters of the Southeast will have a major impact in the selection of the presidential nominees of both parties.'"
A few things either mentioned or neglected:
1) Kemp seems focused on that March 1 date for the Georgia presidential primary in 2016. The secretary has signaled more than once now that this is a likely destination for the primary in the Peach state. That is a change from the 2012 cycle when the date of the Georgia primary was an unknown through much of 2011 after the state legislature ceded the date-setting authority to the secretary of state.

2) Mississippi, Louisiana, Tennessee, Arkansas and Alabama are the low hanging fruit of potential presidential primary moves for 2016. Here's the calendar. Tennessee is already on March 1 (as Galloway and Bluestein mention) and Louisiana is now locked into a Saturday, March 5 primary date after legislation moving the primary up by two weeks was signed into law this summer. That will be as far as Louisiana moves up; the same week as the other southern states. Alabama and Mississippi are already slated for primary dates just a week later on March 8. Those states bumping their dates up by a week is not all that heavy a lift. Arkansas is a different matter. Having gotten lost in the early state shuffle during the Southern Super Tuesday in 1988 and the Titanic Tuesday of 2008, state legislators moved the presidential primary back to the traditional May date in the immediately subsequent cycles. However, Republicans now have unified control of the state government in the Natural state after the 2014 midterms and may be more receptive to such a move.

3) Perhaps more importantly, it should be noted that the two biggest SEC states -- Florida and Texas are already positioned on March 1. It leaves one to wonder if this version of a Southern Super Tuesday plays out the same way as it did in 1988, but in reverse. Spurred by the action of Southern Democratic action, most southern states moved up to the second Tuesday in March in 1988. There was a split decision on the Democratic side with Michael Dukakis, Al Gore and Jesse Jackson all laying some claim to having won the day. While Democrats had a split decision across the South, George HW Bush swept the region. Such a reversal may be less about the decisions throughout the South to cluster primaries on the same date than how the Republican and Democratic nomination races are shaping up at this point in late 2014. Still...

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I thought Florida was scheduled for the first unpenalized date for a winner take all primary. Would that not be March 15?