Sunday, April 5, 2015

Nebraska Democrats Plan March 5 Caucuses for 2016

Back in December the Nebraska Democratic Party voted to once again select delegates to the national convention through a caucuses/convention system in 2016. Now that the party released its draft delegate selection plan for public comment on March 31, it is clearer when that process will commence next year.1 At this point, the party plans to initiate its delegate selection process with March 5 caucuses in 2016.

The Nebraska Democratic Party broke with the tradition of filtering its presidential nomination process through the Cornhusker state's May primary after the 2004 cycle. The party traded in that late primary in 2004 for earlier caucuses in 2008 as a means of falling at a point on the calendar where the nomination was unlikely to have been decided. Like 2008, the 2016 Nebraska Democratic caucuses would fall the weekend following the earliest date the parties allow non-carve-out states to conduct primary or caucus elections. The difference is that, in 2016, that would be month later on the primary calendar than was the case in 2008. Whereas the national parties allowed February contests in the 2008 cycle, that practice is now taboo for states other than Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina.

That national party prohibition on February contests began during the 2012 cycle. With a Democratic incumbent seeking reelection, and thus a noncompetitive nomination race, Nebraska Democrats opted to maintain the caucuses system but to begin the process in April. An open seat Democratic nomination race in 2016 has Nebraska Democrats eyeing an earlier position for its caucuses. After a one cycle hiatus, then, the party has returned to a date for its caucuses on the heels of Super Tuesday/SEC primary on March 1.

NOTE: FHQ will pencil these dates in on the 2016 presidential primary calendar, but please note that the plans are not finalized and are still subject to change. With very few exceptions, though, the dates in the 2012 draft plans for caucuses states did not change.

1 The above link is to the plan on the Nebraska Democratic Party site. FHQ will also keep a version of the plan here.

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