Search This Blog


GOP primary date change endorsement unlikely to solve dilemma

Eight months later, the Louisiana State Republican Central Committee has endorsed the idea of moving up the GOP presidential preference primary to the second Saturday in February (third if the second happens to be Samedi Gras). Realizing all along that state Democrats would have to go along with this, because they have the legislative majority, the move may make more sense now since pressure by other states’ Democrats on the national party appears to have had the effect of forcing a compromise on the question of the temporal ordering of the selection of delegates to the national convention, perhaps encouraging Louisiana Democrats to go along with a date change.

The apparent decision to allow a few states to hold caucuses between the Iowa caucus and the New Hampshire primary seems to have quelled dissatisfaction among many state Democratic Parties. They resented the privileged position of the two states because they got much more of the attention (and spending by the campaigns) of the candidates.

While such fomenting has not surfaced among their Republican brethren in other states, this spring the Legislature took a look at the question of Louisiana’s place in the selection lineup which was particularly disadvantageously behind the southern regional primary when most southern states held their caucuses and primaries. It led to little campaigning for Louisiana’s sparse number of delegates and to high state costs ($10 per voter) to hold the elections.

But moving up a date may not really solve anything. Between now and nomination season, two legislative years remain, giving other states plenty of opportunity to move up their dates, too, stealing some of Louisiana’s thunder. And the southern regional primary may still loom in 2008 in early March which would discourage much in the way of resources coming to Louisiana.

That is, if “mini-Tuesday” doesn’t steal “super-Tuesday’s” thunder. Several states are committed or have talked about putting their selection after New Hampshire on the second Tuesday in February, including southern states such as Alabama and North Carolina. If that were to transpire, Louisiana is back to where it started.

If the state really wants to beat the front-loading of selection at its own game, it would be wise to accept the Democrats’ presumed plan and to schedule in a caucus after Iowa and before New Hampshire’s primary, as some states have indicated they would. Otherwise, because Louisiana is not a large state (even smaller after the recent hurricane disasters) and is not looking to team up with others, it’s likely to be largely overlooked by the candidates and unlikely to draw much more significant participation for the money spent.


oyster said...

"State Democratic Parties"?

I thought you preferred using the incorrect, "Democrat" party moniker? Has something changed, or was this just a slip-up?

Jeff Sadow said...

Hey, you guys are awake! When I was typing that line, I thought I'd slip it in to see if anybody would notice. I was thinking, "no way, it was 10 months ago, nobody will catch it." Never underestimate the readers.