Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Illinois Moves Closer to Feb. 5

The Illinios Senate yesterday (May 15) passed HB 426 which will move the state's 2008 presidential primary to February 5 from the third Tuesday in March. As the articles here and here indicate one of the prime motivations was to provide homegrown candidate, Barack Obama, an early possible win to bolster his campaign for the Democratic nomination. The plan now heads to Governor Blagojevich (D) who supports the move. If that comes to pass, Illinois would join other delegate-rich states, California, New York and New Jersey in addition to possibly fifteen to twenty more states on February 5.

Friday, May 4, 2007

Florida is a Crist Signature Away from Jan. 29

I may have been a bit presumptuous last week when I said that the Florida legislature's plan to move the state's 2008 presidential primary to January 29 was ready for the governor's signature. It had passed the Senate but had not cleared the conference committee phase. The legislature took care of that yesterday (5-3-07) and Governor Crist has indicated that he will sign the bill.

And so the standoff begins. The national parties say that state delegations to the nominating conventions will be penalized for scheduling their primaries before the designated window. The Democrats are even attempting to sanction candidates who campaign in offending states. Proponents of the move within Florida's legislature--and some of this came out of Tallahassee yesterday--argue that those rules will eventually be suspended, especially for an electorally important state like Florida. Time will tell whether the national party rules for this cycle have teeth.

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Add Tennessee and Subtract Kansas

Tennessee's plan (HB 2211) to inch up a week from February 12 to February 5, was signed into law by Governor Bresden on April 30. Here and here are the only current accounts of the move.

In Kansas, the dust has yet to fully settle on the proceedings of this last few days. As I pointed out yesterday and late last week, Kansas had moved from out to in to potentially out again in a matter of days. The plans (S310 and S320) to establish a primary or to have an early primary seemed dead once the regular session of the legislature finished with no further action. The plan was revived during the legislative wrap up session with an amendment attached by Rep. Tom Sawyer to a Senate appropriations bill. That House substituted version passed the House but failed to make it through a budget conference committee on April 30. Here and here are a couple of summaries of the final legislative action. Though this has not been mentioned yet in any source I have come across, the caucuses that Kansas' Democrats and Republicans will have to fall back on have not set their dates for 2008.

Rhode Island Plan Passes First Test

The Senate of the Rhode Island General Assembly yesterday passed by a vote of 29-6 a plan (S 740) to move the state's 2008 presidential primary to February 5. Though Rhode Island has held its presidential primary on the first Tuesday in March for the last several cycles, this plan calls for the primary to be moved from March 18, 2008 (the third Tuesday in March) to the February 5 date twenty plus states have moved to or are considering moving to. This plan now moves to the House side where a similar plan (H 5636) was introduced in February but has since been stuck in the Judiciary Committee.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Maryland's In, Montana's Out and Kansas is in Limbo

As I discussed in my post last week, both the Senate (SB 1025) and House (HB 1434) plans to move Maryland's 2008 presidential primary to February 12 had passed both chambers. Little else was clear however. A check today though revealed that the Senate bill was signed into law by Governor O'Malley on April 24. This is documented in the link to the bill above, but is not verified through the press releases posted on the governor's website. At this point, it looks as though Maryland has joined Virginia for a mini-regional primary the week after the February 5 smörgåsbord.

Futher west, the plan (HB 797) to give the Montana secretary of state the authority to set the date of the 2008 presidential primary some time in February or March died on the Senate side. After passing the House, the plan was transmitted to the Senate and referred to the State Administration Committee where several hearings were scheduled and canceled. The bill was deemed dead in the committee on April 27.

Things are a bit more muddled in Kansas. Last week the House passed a substituted appropriations bill (SB 357) that included language requiring the secretary of state to certify to the governor and legislative leaders before November 1 of this year that the state would not only hold a 2008 presidential primary but that it would be held on February 2. Here's the rub though: The bill's history indicates that the bill has been passed around both chambers subsequently, yet the link above is still to the House substituted version. Several of those actions taken since last week took place today (May 2), so an update is warranted once the legislature's website is updated with an altered (potentially) bill.

In the other states likely to move, nothing new has occurred.