December New Hampshire Primary Still A Possibility

New Hampshire Secretary of State Bill Gardner had said he would announce New Hampshire's primary date as early as November 2 but it looks like the decision has been pushed even later as a result of a court ruling on Wednesday that declared the law setting Michigan's primary date for January 15 unconstitutional.

Ingham County Circuit Court Judge William Collette ruled that part of the law passed by the state Legislature setting up the primary election is unconstitutional because it prevents public access to some information related to voting records in the primary.

By all accounts, this is merely a bump in the road and is easily remedied, either through court appeal or through legislative action amending the law to remove the unconstitutional provision. But what it has done is delay the decision by Michigan Democrats on whether or not to abide by the Jan. 15 primary date or opt out of it altogether, a decision that was scheduled for this past Wednesday and one that must be made no later than Nov. 14.

From The Union Leader:

The ruling forced the Michigan Democratic Party executive committee on Wednesday night to pull from its meeting agenda an expected decision on whether the party would participate in the Jan. 15 primary or opt out under a provision of the law and instead hold a caucus.

The key reason this impacts Gardner's decision as to when to hold the New Hampshire primary:

That caucus could be earlier than Jan. 15, or perhaps on the same day as the New Hampshire primary.

As of now, conventional wisdom is that NH will hold its primary on Tuesday January 8, a date that, assuming Michigan remains on Jan. 15, would conform to state law requiring that New Hampshire hold its primary at least 7 days before any other state contest. If Michigan moves its up earlier, however, Gardner still reserves the right to push the primary to mid-December to maintain the state's "first in the nation" status. In fact, Michigan could even wait until Nov. 14 to decide and Gardner would still have time to call a mid-December election; he's made sure of it.

Gardner said state law requires overseas absentee ballots to be sent from his office and arrive at city and town clerks' offices at least 30 days before the date of the election. He said those have been sent out this week and have arrived.

This is truly getting ridiculous. Gardner has been secretary of state for 30 years and apparently sees it as his duty to protect New Hampshire's sovereignty as the presidential decider. As WaPo says, he is "invested with what amounts to dictatorial power to set the date under state law" and he takes it seriously. Of course, his threats to move the primary to December could be a bluff; after all, New Hampshire's influence would likely be diluted greatly with a pre-Christmas contest, if the candidates decide to honor it at all. Of course, that's precisely the goal of Michigan's game of chicken with New Hampshire, to destroy New Hampshire's electoral primacy once and for all. Who will blink first? We should know by Wednesday.

Tags: 2008 Presidential election, Michigan primary, New Hampshire primary (all tags)

Comments

12 Comments

One person

shouldn't have that kind of power.

He could hand Clinton the presidency.

What a screwed up system.

by david mizner 2007-11-09 06:45AM | 0 recs
hand her the

nomination, I meant.

by david mizner 2007-11-09 06:45AM | 0 recs
Re: hand her the

it could just as easily hurt her. my problem with this is that its bad for the voters to have this uncertainty looming in NH. the reason one has process that's fairly advertised is to prevent voter confusion. this maybe for clinton, but it seems to be at the expense of an orderly process that is necessary for democratic processes to work.  i know thats not sexy as the political aspect fo this- but to me this is more crucial to prevent disenfranchishment.

by bruh21 2007-11-09 07:13AM | 0 recs
Re: hand her the

I am sure Obama is all out lobbying the guy.  If Colbert caused the Obama camp to react imagine what they are doing with this.

by dpANDREWS 2007-11-09 07:15AM | 0 recs
Re: hand her the

another posting by a humor challenged politico

by bruh21 2007-11-09 07:28AM | 0 recs
Re: December NH Primary Still A Possibility

A lot of things about the current system are absurd.  The belief of the Iowa and NH politicos that they have to be first, no matter what, is absurd.  

The way the primaries follow one another in incredibly close sequence, with momentum overriding all thought until after a majority of the delegates are selected, is also absurd.

If I have to choose between killing the first absurdity or the second, I'm gonna vote for killing the second one.  (Hell, nine months ago I was advocating that Iowa have their caucuses this past June, and NH in September.)  So I hope NH moves its primary to Dec. 13.

by RT 2007-11-09 07:41AM | 0 recs
Re: December NH Primary Still A Possibility

so you dont care if  the voters are screwed?

by bruh21 2007-11-09 11:25AM | 0 recs
Obviously

Clinton would love a Christmas Primary beause she gets the battle over with very quickly and the REpublican side is far more divided there than Iowa. Say what you want, but she's the reason for this stupid front-loading that has gone on this decade. Obviously, ever since Carter both parties are trying hard to turn the nomination into a coronation.

Still, Gardner's biggest problem is that Christmas is on a Tuesday and he would want it later in the week so he could schedule the primary a couple days before when the news cycle would be all his.

by risenmessiah 2007-11-09 07:57AM | 0 recs
Re: December New Hampshire Primary Still A Possibi

The New Hampshire vote only has power if voters in other states give it power.  If more people thought for themselves, instead of following the crowd like lemmings, the choices of voters in low-delegate-count states would barely matter.

by Lex 2007-11-09 08:01AM | 0 recs
the media don't want to let

people think for themselves.

Also, it's so expensive to campaign in many states that most voters don't get to compare all of the candidates in depth.

by desmoinesdem 2007-11-09 09:57AM | 0 recs
Michigan is being equally ridiculous, or more

their primary now violates the constitution, DNC rules, and RNC rules.  Don't you think that should be a sign?

by John DE 2007-11-09 08:24AM | 0 recs
Re: December New Hampshire Primary

I don't think a December Primary for NH is a good idea.  It might even backfire worse on the presumptive frontrunner, since it'd be about a week after the last debate.  Someone could lay into her for real this time, and she wouldn't have time to recover.  The media would treat an easy win there for her as a foregone conclusion, so even a closer than expected contest could be damaging to her.  And an upset win by Obama would be an outright disaster for her, since he'd likely surge in Iowa, and she'd have no firewall to speak of.

by megaplayboy 2007-11-09 11:47AM | 0 recs

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