Local Politics

Political Calendar Booked With Early Primaries

Posted August 27, 2007

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— States continue to move up the political calendar to get a piece of the political action before the 2008 election, prompting complaints to change the nomination system for presidential candidates.

Over the weekend, Democratic National Committee threatened to take away nominating delegates from Florida if the state moves its presidential primary to January. North Carolina lawmakers flirted with the idea of moving the state's May primary to an earlier date to matter more, but they didn't act this year.

Earlier primaries mean money and national media exposure because candidates focus their attention – and their advertising budgets – on those states to gain an advantage.

North Carolina 4th District Congressman David Price, who chaired a national group to clarify the primary process, said the push for early primaries is a chaotic rush to judgment that needs to change.

"It's a mess right now," Price said of the primary calendar. "There's even talk of leap-frogging into December, which would be foolishness. The whole thing needs to start later."

Iowa and New Hampshire will likely remain first in line early next year. But Democratic and Republican party leaders moved up Nevada and South Carolina to add diversity.

Florida and Michigan want to move up, and several other states are poised for early February primaries.

"It dilutes, I think, the emphasis on grassroots politics, retail politics," Price said. "It really isn't fair to a state like North Carolina to have all this front-loading."

Political analysts said the only way North Carolina will matter in next year's presidential race is if the front-loaded primaries don't produce clear winner.

"(It) leaves North Carolina even further back in the dust," said Andrew Taylor, a political science professor at North Carolina State University.

Packing the primaries into a few weeks early next year also raises the stakes in the money race, putting pressure on former U.S. Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina, who's betting his political future on Iowa, Taylor said.

"You need lots of money. You need to be organized and ready to go in lots of places very quickly," he said.

"That's going to put a real challenge before (Edwards) because other candidates are better financed right now," Price said.

National party leaders are expected to talk after the 2008 election about possibly changing the primary system to a rotating regional primary.

9 Comments

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  • christinathefern Aug 28, 2007

    Whatever happened to 'by the people, for the people?'

  • ncman Aug 28, 2007

    Who is it that has pushed to move these primaries up. Must be the democrats. I think the candidates should be nominated again in the smoke filled back rooms and then let the public vote on them the following week.

  • NeverSurrender Aug 28, 2007

    "Nobody really cares 6 months or more before the nominating convention-- except for the party workers who stand to benefit from the process. It leaves too much time for the candidates to "reinvent" themselves before the convention."

    ---

    I'd add to it the observation that the nominating conventions are essentially worthless in the current system. Between the parties, they blew about $500M on those dog-and-pony shows when there was no doubt as to who the candidate was. Making it even more absurd was that we knew it was Kerry vs. Bush in February and the conventions were in July and August. I can imagine much better uses for the $500M they flushed down the loo!

    The British have the elections done just right. When Parliament is dissolved, the election is five weeks later. Five weeks to get your message across before going to the country should be more than enough time to pick amongst the buffoons that are offered...then one can get back to dealing with life's realities.

  • USN Vet Aug 28, 2007

    How about moving them to the septic tank? I think that's where most of the candidates came from anyway.

  • raglangr Aug 28, 2007

    Go Ron Paul!

  • mt1190 Aug 28, 2007

    go Hilary!!!

  • WhiskeyTangoFoxtrot Aug 28, 2007

    It begins.

  • ohmygosh Aug 28, 2007

    How about moving them all to one day after the last presidential election? That will guarantee fairness.

    All these moves are going to do is reduce the number of voters in the primaries.

    Nobody really cares 6 months or more before the nominating convention-- except for the party workers who stand to benefit from the process. It leaves too much time for the candidates to "reinvent" themselves before the convention.

  • rand321 Aug 27, 2007

    Given the current calendar, NC, one of the larger states population and electoral college votes, is left with real choices when it comes time to select a parties candidates.

    NC should look at moving the primary up to at least February.