Friday, August 22, 2014

DNC Set to Finalize 2016 Rules at Atlanta Meeting

The Democratic National Committee has kicked off its summer meeting in Atlanta. The party will meet over the weekend to hear and vote on the draft proposal for its 2016 delegate selection rules from the Rules and Bylaws Committee.

As FHQ mentioned following the spring meeting when changes to the rules were discussed, there is little in the way of substantive change to 2016 (as compared to the 2012 rules). That continues to be the big take home along with the fact that the proposed (ideal) calendar of primaries and caucuses is largely in line with that of the RNC. The underlying rules are slightly different across parties, but the intent is the same: keep contests out of January, make February about Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina, and let every other state opt for a position thereafter.

The DNC vote will close the door on national party rules tinkering for the 2016 cycle. The RNC is not set to meet again before its deadline -- for finalizing its rules -- at the end of September. That will clear the way for states to react and adapt to the changes during 2015.

Recent Posts:
South Carolina Bill to Streamline Presidential Primary Funding Becomes Law

Jindal Signature Nudges Louisiana Presidential Primary Up Two Weeks

Missouri Presidential Primary Shifts Back to March Following Nixon Signature

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Tuesday, July 8, 2014

South Carolina Bill to Streamline Presidential Primary Funding Becomes Law

Back in March the South Carolina state House took up, considered and passed HB 4732. The legislation sought to clarify the method under which the Palmetto state would fund its quadrennial presidential preference primary.

As FHQ has detailed previously, South Carolina -- up to the 2008 cycle -- had left the funding of the presidential primaries of the two major parties up to the respective state parties. The dates, delegate allocation rules and funding were all the domain of the state parties before 2008. In the lead up to that election cycle, however, the South Carolina legislature shifted the funding burden to the state government while leaving the other roles to the state parties. The 2007 change to the law allowed the South Carolina State Election Commission the ability to set the filing fee while granting the parties the power to issue an additional certification fee.

But there was a problems with that change. The most direct problem was that there was a reference to the 2008 election in the law. That meant that the alteration technically had a sunset provision that was not fixed prior to the 2012 presidential election cycle. More indirectly, there was in 2011-12 some question as to the process by which funds would be disbursed to the counties for implementation. In question was whether the State Election Commission divvied those funds out to the counties ahead of the election or reimbursed the counties after they had footed the bill for conducting the presidential preference primary election. The latter had seemingly been the method by which funds were disbursed/reimbursed, but that left the counties -- some of the larger ones -- crying foul in 2011.

The bill -- HB 4732 -- rectifying the first issue was unanimously passed by the state House in March and ultimately taken up and passed by the state Senate; also by a unanimous vote (in late May). The indirect intra-governmental dispute (state versus counties) over funding/reimbursement was essentially fixed in early 2012 when the counties' claim was denied by the South Carolina Supreme Court.1

This 2014 legislation, after garnering unanimous support in both chambers of the South Carolina General Assembly, made the June signature of Governor Nikki Haley (R) nothing more than a formality. The change took effect immediately, thus clarifying the process by which South Carolina presidential primaries are funded.

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1 The counties' petition concerned the fact that after 2008 the funding mechanism should have reverted to the state parties. However the state supreme court countered that while the law did refer only to 2008, the state budget thereafter had made allowances for funding the presidential primary.


Recent Posts:
Jindal Signature Nudges Louisiana Presidential Primary Up Two Weeks

Missouri Presidential Primary Shifts Back to March Following Nixon Signature

Louisiana House Concurs on 2016 Presidential Primary Move to Early March

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Monday, July 7, 2014

Jindal Signature Nudges Louisiana Presidential Primary Up Two Weeks

FHQ is late to this, but...

On Thursday, June 19, Governor Bobby Jindal (R-LA) signed HB 431 into law. Originally, the bill was intended to address campaign finance issues, but had an amendment added to it on the Senate side pushing the presidential primary up two weeks. The House later concurred with the change, sending the bill to the governor's desk.

Jindal's action now moves the Louisiana presidential primary from the third Saturday after the first Tuesday in March to the first Saturday in March. That will position the presidential primary in the Pelican state on March 5 for the 2016 presidential nomination cycle; just a few days after what is likely to be Super Tuesday on March 1.

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Find an updated 2016 presidential primary calendar here.

Recent Posts:
Missouri Presidential Primary Shifts Back to March Following Nixon Signature

Louisiana House Concurs on 2016 Presidential Primary Move to Early March

Amended Bill Would Bump 2016 Louisiana Presidential Primary Up Two Weeks

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Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Missouri Presidential Primary Shifts Back to March Following Nixon Signature

On Wednesday, Governor Jay Nixon (D-MO) signed SB 892 into law. The new law moves the Show Me state presidential primary from the first Tuesday after the first Monday in February to the second Tuesday after the first Monday in March. More importantly -- to a host of actors involved in the presidential nomination process both in Missouri and on the national stage -- the change means Missouri will be compliant with the national parties' delegate selection rules for the 2016 cycle.

Unlike the 2012 cycle, when the Missouri legislature could not make the change in 2011 or eliminate the beauty contest primary in the early days of the 2012 session, Missouri will not have to revert to compliant caucuses or apply for waivers to avoid sanction.

NOTES:
  1.  Missouri has now pulled off the rare midterm year presidential primary move for the second time. The General Assembly first moved the presidential primary to the February position during the 2002 legislative session. It now moves back to March twelve years later, during another midterm year.
  2.  The North Carolina presidential primary -- anchored to South Carolina's -- is now the next biggest obstacle to the national parties getting the preferred primary calendar outlined in the delegate selection rules for 2016. Missouri was an earlier contest than what North Carolina's will likely be (under the North Carolina primary law), but in 2012 at least demonstrated how willing the state parties in the Show Me state were to move into compliance with the national party rules. Still, the Missouri move is a win for the state parties hoping to send a full delegation to the conventions, the national parties hoping for limited queue jumping on the calendar and Missouri voters.
  3. Missouri becomes the third state to move on the 2016 presidential primary calendar this cycle, joining Florida and North Carolina. Both Florida and Missouri pulled back from more provocative calendar positions while North Carolina last year moved into one.
  4. This bill passed the state House on May 5, but was not transmitted to the governor until last Friday, May 30. There was a quick turnaround on the signature once the legislation made it to Governor Nixon's desk.

Recent Posts:
Louisiana House Concurs on 2016 Presidential Primary Move to Early March

Amended Bill Would Bump 2016 Louisiana Presidential Primary Up Two Weeks

RNC Creates New Rule Dealing with Presidential Primary Debates

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Sunday, June 1, 2014

Louisiana House Concurs on 2016 Presidential Primary Move to Early March

The Louisiana state House today unanimously concurred (96-0) with Senate amendments added to a campaign finance bill. The Senate changes would shift the Pelican state presidential primary in 2016 up two weeks to March 5. The language would move the primary from the first Saturday after the third Monday in March to the first Saturday in March.

House bill author, Tim Burns (R-89th), had no objections to the Senate changes in his brief comments describing said changes on the chamber floor. The measure now heads to Governor Bobby Jindal (R) for his consideration. The move is noncontroversial as it is within the delegate selection rules of both national parties and would move the Louisiana primary up and into a window in which a number of other southern states are currently set to hold contests in 2016.

Recent Posts:
RNC Creates New Rule Dealing with Presidential Primary Debates

Missouri Poised to Move Presidential Primary Back into Compliance with National Party Rules

Dems Do Little to Alter 2016 Delegate Selection Rules

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Saturday, May 31, 2014

Amended Bill Would Bump 2016 Louisiana Presidential Primary Up Two Weeks

The Louisiana Senate added an amendment yesterday to a state House bill on campaign finance that would move the presidential primary in the Pelican state. The floor amendment was inserted into HB 431, among other changes, all of which were subsequently unanimously passed by the state Senate (38-0). The regular session of the Louisiana legislature is due to adjourn on Monday, June 2. This change, then, was a late addition. The bill now heads back to the state House where concurrence with the state Senate changes will be considered when the chamber convenes on Sunday afternoon.

The change to the presidential primary date for 2016 and beyond is rather minor. It would shift the Louisiana presidential primary up to the first Saturday of March; the Saturday following what is likely to be Super Tuesday on Tuesday, March 1. That would move the Pelican state primary up two weeks from its position on the the third Saturday after the first Tuesday in March. More simply, this would move the primary from March 19 to March 5.

There are more potential calendar changes to come in 2015, but if Louisiana were to move to March 5, that would place the primary in an eight day period with a decidedly southern flavor. Florida, Oklahoma, Texas, Tennessee and Virginia are already scheduled for March 1 -- the earliest date allowed by the national parties for non-carve-out states to conduct contests -- and Alabama and Mississippi are due to hold primaries a week later on March 8. Louisiana would fall right in the middle of that period on the calendar.

But first, the state House will have its say in the matter tomorrow.

Recent Posts:
RNC Creates New Rule Dealing with Presidential Primary Debates

Missouri Poised to Move Presidential Primary Back into Compliance with National Party Rules

Dems Do Little to Alter 2016 Delegate Selection Rules

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Monday, May 12, 2014

RNC Creates New Rule Dealing with Presidential Primary Debates

Under Rule 10(c) of the Rules of the Republican Party -- the rule granting the RNC chair the ability to create new committees with the approval of the RNC -- the Republican National Committee will charge a new committee with sanctioning the presidential primary debates during the 2016 cycle.

The new Rule 10(h) reads as follows:
There shall be a Standing Committee on Presidential Primary Debates, which shall be composed of thirteen (13) members of the Republican National Committee, five (5) of whom shall be appointed by the Chairman of the Republican National Committee, and each of the four (4) regions shall elect two (2) members, one man and one woman, at its regional caucus at the RNC Summer Meeting in each even-numbered year in which no Presidential election is held. The chairman of the Republican National Committee shall appoint the chairman of the Standing Committee on Presidential Primary Debates from among the members thereof. The Standing Committee on Presidential Primary Debates shall have the authority to sanction debates on behalf of the Republican National Committee based on input from presidential campaigns and criteria which may include but are not limited to considerations of timing, frequency, format, media outlet, and the best interests of the Republican Party. Each debate sanctioned by the Standing Committee on Presidential Primary Debates shall be known as a “Sanctioned Debate.” Any presidential candidate who participates in any debate that is not a Sanctioned Debate shall not be eligible to participate in any further Sanctioned Debates.
Rule 10(c) is the same rule that allowed for the creation of the Temporary Delegate Selection Committee that altered the rules under Chairman Steele's direction for the 2012 cycle -- Rule 10(d) in the 2008 Rules of the Republican Party -- and earlier this cycle created another temporary commission dealing with the preparation and planning of the national convention (Rule 10(g)). The difference between those committees and the new committee on presidential primary debates is that the latter is a standing committee. Unlike the other standing committees the rules call for, the debates committee provision is not housed in Rule 10(a) like the other seven "standing" committees.

The 2016 trial run of the debates committee may decide whether it joins the others in 10(a) at the next convention in the rules for 2020.

Recent Posts:
Missouri Poised to Move Presidential Primary Back into Compliance with National Party Rules

Dems Do Little to Alter 2016 Delegate Selection Rules

Missouri Senate Bill on Presidential Primary Passes Committee Stage in State House

Are you following FHQ on TwitterGoogle+ and Facebook? Click on the links to join in.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Missouri Poised to Move Presidential Primary Back into Compliance with National Party Rules

The Missouri House on May 5 passed SB 892 on a largely party line vote. The legislation would shift the date of the presidential primary in the Show Me state from the first Tuesday after the first Monday in February to the first Tuesday after the second Tuesday in March.

Monday was a busy day for SB 892. The bill first received the "Do Pass" clearance from the state House Fiscal Review Committee and subsequently passed both a procedural vote that saw no amendments added and then a final vote.1 The latter saw a near-unified Republican majority in the chamber vote in favor of the move while all but two in the House Democratic caucus voted against the measure. Just three Republicans voted down the move in a 101-47 final tally. The bill then moved back to its chamber of origin -- the state Senate -- where it was ordered enrolled.

The next stop for SB 892 is the governor's desk.

Unlike 2011, when similar legislation was passed and vetoed, this is a clean bill that only shifts the date of the presidential primary. The reason Governor Nixon vetoed the 2011 legislation was that it also included provisions that would have curbed gubernatorial power in the area of appointments to fill vacancies to statewide offices. Without that, Nixon is very likely to sign something -- moving the primary into compliance with national party rules -- that he supported in 2011. His support for moving the primary back was the reason he included it in his call for a special session that year. That special session devolved into several inter-chamber disputes one of which derailed the effort to shift the presidential primary back.

Should Governor Nixon sign SB 892, it would be a big win for the national parties. It would clear a major obstacle to the calendars for which both parties appear to be aiming.

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1 Much of this was a formality. The House had previously passed its own version of this bill with the exact same language (HB 1902). It was virtually a given, then, that the Senate version would sail through the House. It did with no problems.

Recent Posts:
Dems Do Little to Alter 2016 Delegate Selection Rules

Missouri Senate Bill on Presidential Primary Passes Committee Stage in State House

Utah Presidential Primary in 2016, Prologue or Epilogue

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Monday, May 5, 2014

Dems Do Little to Alter 2016 Delegate Selection Rules

The Democratic National Committee's Rules and Bylaws Committee (RBC) on Friday raced through the twenty rules -- and subrules -- that govern the party's delegate selection process. In the process of review, the RBC changed little about the rules.

The big story -- if one can call it big -- was that the national party signaled the earliest points on the 2016 presidential primary calendar that the first four carve-out states can hold contests. Functionally however, this revelation was little more than a carryover of the 2012 rules. In 2012, Rule 11.A granted Iowa the ability to hold its caucuses 29 days before the first Tuesday in March.1 New Hampshire, as has become the custom, was allowed to hold its primary 21 days prior to that point -- eight days after Iowa. That is or will be no different in 2016. Iowa can go as early as February 1 -- 29 days before the first Tuesday in March (March 1) -- and New Hampshire can follow on February 9 -- 21 days before March 1.

What the RBC did change was how Nevada and South Carolina are treated by Rule 11. The 2012 rule actually conflicted with New Hampshire state law in that it allowed Nevada Democrats to hold their caucuses 17 days before the first Tuesday in March. That allowed only a four day cushion between New Hampshire and Nevada. The statute in the Granite state requires a seven day cushion between the first in the nation New Hampshire primary and any other similar contest following it. The DNC rule for 2012 contradicted that.

Rule 11 no longer contains that "oversight".2 In a nod to the reality that both Nevada and South Carolina prefer Saturday delegate selection events, the DNC Rules and Bylaws Committee has given the green light to Nevada caucuses 10 days prior to March 1 -- and 11 days after New Hampshire -- and a South Carolina Democratic primary 3 days prior to that first Tuesday in March.

That latter rule regarding the position of the South Carolina primary likely will ensure that the Democratic and Republican primaries in the Palmetto state will once again be held on different dates. That will definitely be the case should March 1 end up being a de facto southern or southeastern primary day. South Carolina Republicans -- like the situation in New Hampshire -- require (by custom, not law) a seven day window between the South Carolina primary and the next earliest southern contest. The SCGOP also prefers a Saturday contest, meaning that a February 20 date is likely (assuming no other calendar shenanigans). That would put the South Carolina Republican primary on the same date as the Nevada Democratic caucuses and perhaps even the Republican caucuses in the Silver state. That sequence of contests is similar to the positioning on the 2008 calendar.

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The primary dates section of the rules brought some minor changes, then, but that really was not the real surprise to come out of the brief Rules and Bylaws Committee meeting in Washington, DC on Friday. The real surprise -- to FHQ anyway -- was that there was no change and no discussion of changing the penalties associated with rules violations. As recently as last fall there was some discussion -- outside of the RBC -- of the party considering a stiffer penalty on rogue primary states (those that violate the timing rules). At that time, the word was that the RBC would perhaps consider a penalty similar to the RNC super penalty. That may have happened, but did not in the context of one of the Rules and Bylaws Committee public meetings. In any event, Rule 20 was left unchanged for 2016 as compared to its 2012 version. That means a few things:
  1. States that violate the timing rules for scheduling their delegate selection events will be docked 50% of their delegates. That is the very same penalty that has proven ineffective with a select few agitators over the last couple of presidential election cycles. But…
  2. The Rules and Bylaws Committee still reserves the right to increase the penalty (Rule 20.C.5) or through its recommendation and an affirmative vote from the Democratic National Committee's Executive Committee to conduct a compliant party-run contest (Rule 21.C).
  3. There is some lack of uniformity between the RNC penalties and the DNC penalties. However, that difference is more a reflection of the RNC more explicitly laying out the exact consequences of violation and the DNC allowing itself a bit more leeway in assessing an appropriate penalty should the rules be broken. 
This last point has been a point of emphasis for FHQ since 2012. We have consistently argued that rules coordination between the national parties was necessary but not sufficient to keeping states in line. It also requires some coordination on the penalties as well. The rules across parties are not the same, but with this fall back option, the DNC has now likely given (along with the extant RNC rules) 2016 the best chance yet to be the cycle in which the national parties get something close to their ideal primary calendar.

It is a fighting chance, but now that the national parties have moved, the ball is in the states' court. Whether the states will comply is a question for 2015. It will be interesting.

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1 The latter reference point date was the earliest date on which non-carve-out states could conduct the first step of their delegate selection process without penalty from the national parties.

2 This is another win for the New Hampshire primary in terms of assists its calendar position has gotten from the national parties. The RNC has already indicated that all four carve-out states have the ability to move to a spot on the calendar up to a month before the next earliest contest without incurring a penalty from the party. In 2012, the RNC only allowed the carve-outs to shift to dates on or after February 1 without penalty (see Rule 15(b)(1)).


Recent Posts:
Missouri Senate Bill on Presidential Primary Passes Committee Stage in State House

Utah Presidential Primary in 2016, Prologue or Epilogue

Missouri Senate Passes Bill Moving Presidential Primary to March

Are you following FHQ on TwitterGoogle+ and Facebook? Click on the links to join in.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Missouri Senate Bill on Presidential Primary Passes Committee Stage in State House

The Missouri Senate bill that would move the Show Me state presidential primary from February to March has gotten the thumbs up from both the House Committee on Elections and the House Rules Committee.

A bill with the exact same language has already passed the House and is currently being considered in the state Senate. SB 892 passed the Senate with only a handful of dissenting votes earlier this month. This clears the way for the bill to be considered on the floor of the state House, first through an amendment process and through a final vote.

The legislation would shift Missouri back into compliance with the national party rules on delegate selection. This follows a cycle when Missouri Republicans had to allocate delegates via a later [March] caucus/convention process while the February -- state-funded -- primary was a mere beauty contest. Missouri Democrats received a waiver from the DNC to continue with (an uncompetitive) presidential primary on the February date.

The Missouri General Assembly will be in session until May 16.

Recent Posts:
Utah Presidential Primary in 2016, Prologue or Epilogue

Missouri Senate Passes Bill Moving Presidential Primary to March

Nebraska Bill on Binding Delegates Based on Primary or Caucus Results Signed into Law

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