Monday, June 29, 2015

Adjournment Ends Legislative Push for Earlier Presidential Primary in Rhode Island

Legislators at the Rhode Island General Assembly wrapped up their business for the 2015 session last week on Thursday, June 25. Among the items left languishing in committee was a Republican-sponsored bill in the House to shift the presidential primary in the Ocean state from the last Tuesday in April up to the last Tuesday in March.

The writing had been on the wall for HB 6054 for a while, though. A committee hearing back in early May had already basically tabled the discussion. Democrats in the majority had less incentive to shift than did the Republicans behind the bill in the first place. In the time since then, however, the Rhode Island presidential primary position on April 26 has become slightly less enticing to Democrats. New York likely ending up a week earlier on the calendar on April 19 costs Rhode Island Democrats a 15% clustering bonus to their delegation to the national convention in Philadelphia. Ocean state Democrats will still be eligible for a timing bonus of 10% with an April primary.

Rhode Island Republican legislators were differently motivated and wanted an even earlier date to affect a nomination process that is more competitive than on the Democratic side.

With the conclusion of the legislative session, the bill dies and cannot by rule in Rhode Island be carried over to the 2016 session.

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