Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Oklahoma House Committee Defeats Bill to Move Presidential Primary Away from March 1

By a 5-2 vote, the Oklahoma House Committee on Elections and Ethics for the moment killed the bill that would have shifted the presidential primary in the Sooner state from back a month to the first Tuesday in April. SB 233 will stay in committee, but given the opposition voiced at the hearing and reflected in the vote, it will likely stay there.

The impact of the decision is that the Oklahoma presidential primary is very likely to remain where it is on the calendar, March 1. That keeps Oklahoma on what committee members and those speaking for and against the bill at the hearing called Super Tuesday. Typically, the earliest date on which the national parties have allowed states other than the four carve-out states to conduct primary and caucus elections has invited a significant amount of other states to cluster on that date. But for the 2016 cycle, a group of southern states have attempted to stake a claim to that date on the calendar and rebrand it the SEC primary. Oklahoma would stand pat with neighboring Texas on March 1 plus the SEC primary states, Tennessee definitely and likely Georgia and Alabama as well. That group and Virginia would tip the overall balance for March 1 toward the South. Massachusetts, Minnesota and Vermont are also currently slated to hold primaries on that date.

For Oklahoma Republicans, staying on March 1 would mean having to maintain some semblance of the proportional delegate allocation plan they were forced to install (based in RNC rules) for 2012. Part of the motivation for SB 233 was to allow Sooner state Republicans to return to the winner-take-all (by congressional district) plan the state party had operated under prior to 2012.

The Oklahoma Republican Party is set to meet for its state convention on April 11, where this presidential primary date-related proportional versus winner-take-all discussion may extend.


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1 comment:

David Van Risseghem said...

Thanks for the accurate account.
A subplot of today's drama was the impending re-election bid of david Weston. Challenger, former Senator, Randy Brogdon, made several strong arguments which evidently compelled his former colleagues to end the effort of this bill.