Monday, March 9, 2015

February Presidential Primary Bill Introduced in Wisconsin

As promised, state Senator Tim Carpenter (D-3rd, Milwaukee) has introduced legislation to move the Wisconsin presidential primary to February.

SB 63, introduced in the state Senate last week, would move the presidential primary in the Badger state from the first Tuesday in April up to the third Tuesday in February. The April date coincides with what Wisconsin state law refers to as the "spring election" while the February date is the "spring primary". The presidential primary has mostly fallen on the spring election date during the post-reform era (1972-present), but did toggle to the spring primary date for the 2004 and 2008 cycles before moving back to April for 2012. Sen. Carpenter's legislation seeks to repeat that switch for 2016.

But in a Republican-controlled legislature, with a Republican governor who seems to be seeking the Republican presidential nomination and with a former Wisconsin Republican Party chair as chairman of the RNC, there will likely be little appetite to move the primary out of compliance with the national party rules, minimizing Wisconsin voters' voices in the nomination process. In fact, there already seems to be resistance to the proposed shift.

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