Claude Pope, Jr., in an op-ed in the Charlotte Observer added one more voice -- and a bit of dual RNC and North Carolina Republican Party heft -- to the ongoing discussion over whether the Tar Heel state will become the latest rogue state to jump in the primary calendar line. This does not tell us much about the dialog in the North Carolina General Assembly, but can easily be viewed as some light early pressure to alter the date.
Pope makes the case for shifting back the North Carolina presidential primary to March 1 (also the targeted SEC primary date) thusly:
"A newly enacted law sets our presidential primary on the “first Tuesday after the South Carolina primary.” That likely puts the primary date in February of 2016. The RNC’s rules provide a “carve-out” for February primaries for only four states – Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, and South Carolina. Any state that violates this rule by conducting a February primary will forfeit all but 12 delegates. There are no exceptions, and North Carolina remains out of compliance with this rule. There is a simple fix – move our presidential primary to Tuesday, March 1.
"Our legislature had good intentions when it established a February primary date, assuming that the world would beat a path to our door – bringing national media exposure, money, and an economic boom-let to North Carolina. But the crowded field of presidential wannabes will not step foot in our state. They will not visit the fire stations or Rotary Clubs. They won’t ride in the parades, eat barbecue, kiss babies or spend their millions fighting over just 12 delegates – it simply isn’t worth the money.
"So, goodbye economic boom-let. Goodbye to relevance, and goodbye to any influence on the national level. Say hello to the mass of disenfranchised (and very upset) grassroots activists denied once again – by the law of unintended consequences – of finally having their say in who gets selected as our party’s nominee.That 12 delegates is the super penalty that is new in 2016. And what Pope describes is exactly how that penalty was intended to work: Shrink a state's delegation size to the point that it undermines candidates coming to the state to squabble over a sliver of a sliver of delegates.
As FHQ has said, the super penalty appears to be doing its job. It has cleaned up the North Carolina issue yet, but the word is getting around.
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