Back loading and Frontloading Changes Presidential Primary and Caucus Schedule Big Time

Bookmark and Share   The Republican presidential primary and caucus calendar remains up in the air, but White House 2012 has updated the tentative schedule.  It can be found here.

WH12 has established the tentative dates of each primary and caucus through a combination of historical analysis of how the schedule usually works itself out and where each state has so far positioned themselves in the process.

Attempts by Florida to increase the impact of their primary results by holding their primary earlier than allowed by RNC rules, has forced the earliest dates in the new schedule to be in a state of flux. Republican National Committee rules allow Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, and South Carolina to hold their nominating contests in February, while all other with states are allowed to vote after March 6.

But Florida’s decision to have its primary on January 31st of 2012, has forced Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, and South Carolina to leapfrog the Sunshine State in an attempt to maintain the excitement and influence that comes with their early vote. This situation is exacerbated by New Hampshire state law which requires the Granite State to be the first in the nation presidential primary and Iowa’s state code that mandates that their presidential caucus be held “not later than the fourth Monday in February and at least days prior to any other presidential nominating contest. Because of those legal requirements the jockeying for position by Florida which has forced South Carolina to move its date up will ultimately force New Hampshire to move its primary to Tuesday, January 16th.  That in turn will force Iowa to conduct its presidential caucuses on Monday, January 2nd. Monday the 9th, would seemingly be a better date, but due to the date that New Hampshire will be forced to hold its primary on, Monday the 9th of January would be a day short of the Iowa state mandate requiring it be held 8 days prior to all other presidential nominating contests.

Further evidence of these likely date changes comes from New Hampshire’s Secretary of State William Gardner.  He recently told  the Boston Globe that the New Hampshire Republican presidential primary could be held in January or as early as it must to maintain its prized first-in-the-nation primary. Gardener added that insofar as the likelihood of New Hampshire holding its contest before the originally scheduled February 14th date, “it’s not a close call”

Between those factors and legislative action that has already changed the dates of the presidential nominating contests in other states, White House 2012 has established that So the opening primary and caucus calendar will most likely be as follows:

Monday, January 2nd; –

  • Iowa Caucus – 28 Delegates

Tuesday, January 17th;

  • New Hampshire Primary– 23 Delegates

Saturday, January 28th:

  • South Carolina Primary– 50 Delegates 

Tuesday, January 31st;

  • Florida– Primary -99

Such a frontloaded calendar is not exactly desired, mainly because it forces the height of campaigning in to Iowa to be conducted during the Christmas and New Years holidays, a time when most Americans are far more interested in seeing Santa and the New Year Baby than they are in Jon Huntsman, Gary Johnson, or Newt Gingrich.  But in 2008, a similar scenario saw Florida push their primary up and that led to a chain reaction which ultimately forced Iowa to hold their caucuses on Monday, January 3rd. So it is my belief that this situation will play itself out in 2012 much the same way that it did in 2008.

In the meantime, while Florida, New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Florida are in a competition of frontloading the Republican presidential nomination process, there has been little or no mention of the fact that many other states are doing just the opposite.

In 2008, New Jersey which has traditionally been one of the very last states to hold its presidential primary, and thereby one of the most inconsequential to the process, moved its primary to March, with states like New York. But the legislative geniuses in the Garden State decided that the $11.2 million that it costs them to hold a primary separate from their traditional primary date for all other elected offices, was not worth the cost.  So in 2012, New Jersey will join Montana, New Mexico , and South Carolina in holding their primaries on June 5th, a date that  precedes only Utah which will hold its contest on June 26th.  By then the question is…..why bother?

As for New York, it too has moved its Primary back, along with Connecticut, Delaware, and Rhode Island. Together, on Tuesday, April 24th, these states will join with Pennsylvania and hold what is essentially a northern, Mid-Atlantic regional primary that will offer up a total of 231 delegates. These states are traditionally more liberal than much of the rest of the G.O.P. and as such, the strength of their combined vote coming on the same day, could be a big boost to less conservative Republican presidential contenders like Jon Huntsman or if he runs, favorite regional son Rudy Giuliani.

All together, White House 2012’s updated primary and caucus schedule has established date changes for more than a dozen states. And while not every date is set in stone, we are confident that this is one of the most probable presidential primary and caucus calendars out there.

Of course this could all change if Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Preibus adheres to RNC rules and punishes any of those states which are not allowed to hold their nomination contests prior to March.  The penalty for such a transgression of RNC rules requires reducing the number of delegates that the violating states send to the national nominating convention by half. Such a reduction in size would be a significant blow to the influence that large states like Florida which has 99 delegates, would have on the nomination process. This is especially true when it comes to California which has scheduled their primary for February 7th. They would go from 172 delegates to 86 delegates. That’s a loss of more delegates than the combined total of delagates that Iowa, New Hampshire, Delaware, and Rhode Island send to the convention.

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One Response

  1. […] of frontloading an election, and have begun to move their primaries back to their original dates. The legislative geniuses in the Garden State decided that the $11.2 million that it costs them to ho…Well, if states do continue to move their primaries back, and hold both types of events on the same […]

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