Mark Your Calendars (For Now)
07-12-2010
For the time being at least, it appears that the two national political parties are moving to restore a bit of sanity to the next presidential primary cycle. On Friday, a Democratic National Committee rules panel voted to keep Iowa and New Hampshire in the two leadoff spots, while pushing the entire primary schedule back into February, closer on the calendar to where it was in 1996 and 2000. We are still a good 18 months or so away from New Hampshire Secretary of State Bill Gardner officially setting a date, but at least in the eyes of the DNC, our primary should take place on February 14, 2012 (as opposed to January 8, 2008). The Republican National Committee is likely to follow suit on these scheduling matters in short order.
 
So, does this mean the assault on New Hampshire’ presidential primary tradition is finally over? Not likely. Keep in mind that the big challenge to the schedule in 2008 was launched from within the Democratic Party. With President Obama likely to run for reelection in 2012, there won’t be the same suspense or opportunity for king-making within the states on the Democratic side this time around. But were Obama to lose his reelection bid in 2012, or a sitting Vice President Biden decide not to run for president in 2016 (at age 73), my guess is that an open seat on the Democratic side at that time would trigger another calendar free-for-all.
 
As we already know, these scheduling battles are exhausting and cyclical, which means that after an occasional pause they will inevitably pop up again in the future. So, here’s to enjoying the relative leisure of the proposed 2012 calendar, as it may not last for long.

Comments:


Posted On: 07-12-2010 21:50:47 by Jim Splaine
You're correct, Dean. What really matters is what the states do -- the national parties can only set preferred "windows" and "schedules." But if any state tries to move sooner, New Hampshire -- by our state law -- will be adjusted by the Secretary of State, who is mandated to set our primary "...7 days or more..." before any "similar election." I authored an update this past year that gives even more flexibility to the SoS that the 1975 law gives him. We're all set to be first, well into the 21st Century.


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