On Monday, January 19, identical bills were introduced -- one each in the Mississippi state House and Senate -- to shift the date of the Magnolia state presidential primary up one week.
HB 933 and SB 2531 would move the Mississippi presidential primary from the second Tuesday in March to the first Tuesday in March. This potential shift is noteworthy for a number of reasons. First, the proposed move would push the presidential primary up to the earliest date allowed by the national party rules; in 2016, March 1. This would also position the Mississippi primary in the proposed calendar slot for the so-called SEC primary.
Finally, this subtle repositioning, if passed and signed into law, would be the first time in seven presidential primary cycles that the Mississippi primary has fallen on a date other than the second Tuesday in March. Up to the 1988 cycle, Mississippi had had either later primaries or the state parties had opted to select and allocate delegates through a caucuses/convention system (see Mississippi Democrats in 1984).
Should the move come to fruition, it would place the Mississippi presidential primary alongside other southern primaries in Florida, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia.1 There are also primaries scheduled for March 1 in Massachusetts and Vermont.
Update (2/1/15): House bill passes committee
Update (2/4/15): Senate bill passes committee
Update (2/11/15): House and Senate bills pass
Update (3/3/15): House bill dies in committee, Senate bill passes committee
UPDATE (3/11/15): Amended Senate bill passes state House
Will a Calendar Bump Up Mean More Candidate Visits in SEC Primary States?
1 There is legislation in Oklahoma, though, that would move the primary in the Sooner state back three weeks to March 22.
Primary Movement, 2015 v. 2011
State Legislatures Move Most Presidential Primaries. ...But They Have to Change State Law First
Oklahoma Bill Would Move Presidential Primary Back Three Weeks
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