October 12, 2011

Gardner: Nevada Moves to Jan 17, or New Hampshire Goes in December

New Hampshire Secretary of State Bill Gardner is out with a new “my way or the highway” op-ed, posted over at TheIowaRepublican.com. In it, he makes the case for New Hampshire being the first in the nation primary, and for them having to necessarily go seven days before the Nevada caucuses. Here’s the rubber-meets-the-road moment:

We cannot allow the political process to squeeze us into a date that wedges us by just a few days between two major caucus states. Our primary will have little meaning if states crowd into holding their events just hours after our polls have closed.

The date of our primary is decided by state law, not by the rules or desires of political parties. Since Nevada’s caucus is similar in the eyes of our statute, it means the New Hampshire primary can be set no later than Saturday, January 7th.

IT’S REALLY UP TO NEVADA. If Nevada does not accept a date of Tuesday, January 17th or later for its caucus, it leaves New Hampshire no choice but to consider December of this year. The dates of Tuesday, December 13th, and Tuesday, December 6th are realistic options, and we have logistics in place to make either date happen if needed. Candidates have been campaigning here, and elsewhere, for months, and it is about time we begin the next stage of the presidential nominating process.

I know it’s tough, but try and ignore the glaring lack of logic in his writing. (“In the eyes of our statute”? Really? Isn’t it you who interprets the statute? And if Nevada is “similar” why wasn’t Delaware “similar” in 1996 and 2000?)

Apparently, Saturday, January 7th isn’t an okay date for NH because Iowa is just three days earlier, and New Hampshire desires to go on a Tuesday. The Nevada GOP has said they want to go on a Saturday in order to increase caucus turnout; however, it is feasible that they could acquiesce and set their caucus for Tuesday, January 17th.

To the Nevada GOP Central Committee: I know it’s not what you wanted. I know Bill Gardner is being a primary/caucus bully. But for the sake of everyone’s sanity, the simplest solution to this whole thing looks to be taking one for the team and moving from the 14th to the 17th. Please?

by @ 3:41 pm. Filed under 2012 Primary Calendar, Primary & Caucus Dates

October 10, 2011

2012: The Marathon Campaign

When pundits  and even commenters talk about 2012, they often sound like they’re fighting the last war.  People talk about the race ending on Super Tuesday. That’s so 2008. In reality, this thing has the potential to go quite a while, just like the Democrats did in 2008. In fact, it was designed that way.

Let’s take a look:

December/January-Iowa/New Hampshire/Nevada/South Carolina/Florida

These five states have been where most of the focus of conversation has been. And really, candidates need to win in some of these to be viable.  Probably, by January 31st, we’ll have 2-3 viable candidates plus Ron Paul (unless Mitt sweeps them all.)

Something to remember about these contests. First, all of them will use proportional delegate allocation. Second, all of them have been penalized (with the exception of Iowa) with losing half their delegates for going so early.  

February: Minnesota, Colorado, Maine, Michigan, and Arizona

This is a bit of a dead zone in the midst of the primary campaign with three caucuses at the start of the month and two Primaries at the end of it.  Romney, in the last campaign, had the organizational resources to sweep most Caucuses after Iowa and may be able to do so again. Although, the strong showing by Herman Cain in the Midwest Republican Leadership Conference Straw Poll may give Cain the inside track.

Regardless, the value of the Caucuses are dubious as there’s no delegates at stake.  In addition, the two primaries are once again proportionally allocated, and once again are penalized with half their delegates.

March 3rd: Washington

March 6th Super Tuesday: Alaska, Georgia, Idaho*, Massachusetts, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, and Virginia

Still, a lot of states voting this year on Super Tuesday, but definitely not as impressive as back in 2008 with the 24 state half nation primary. As for the notion of the race being over on Super Tuesday, it’s safe to say it won’ t be technically over. 

If a candidates dominates these first first two 22 contests, it’s conceivable that the other serious contenders could graciously step out of the race to unite the party, but no candidate is going to be close to having enough delegates to wrap up the nomination because all the contests heretofore have been proportional. Democrats in races like 1988, 1992, and 2004 have stood aside for a candidate who looks sure to win the nomination because all that’s ahead for Democrats is more proportional contests, Republicans will have some winner-take-all contests ahead including California’s.

 March 10th: Kansas, Virgin Islands, and Wyoming Caucuses

March 13th:  Alabama, Hawaii,  Mississippi,

March 17th: Missouri

March 20th: ?Illinois

March 24th: Louisiana

And we must note again that all of these contests must be proportional.  But in April, they can become winner-take-all:

April 3rd: Maryland, Wisconsin, Washington, DC

April 24th: Connecticutt, Delaware, New York, and Pennsylvania

April 24th marks a second Super Tuesday. Perhaps, with the presence of New York, Connecticutt, and Delaware, it could be called RINO Tuesday.  Regardless, this region has set itself up as being able to hand out a lot of momentum, if this thing goes long enough.

May 8th: Indiana, North Carolina, West Virginia

May 15th: Nebraska, Oregon

May 22nd: Arkansas and Kentucky

June 5th: California, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico, and South Dakota

June 26th: Utah

I should note that not every state that can go winner-take-all will. In fact, many of these later-voting states traditionally use proportional allocation (such as Arkansas.) Still, there’s quite a few delegates to be picked up in a close race.

The way the primary calendar is set up, Perry and Romney are financially positioned to be able to slug things out for as long as it takes. Ron Paul can live off the land with next to no money as he continues to spread his message to all comers.  For a candidate like Herman Cain, it’s critical that he do two things: 1) have success in an early primary and 2) that success translates into dollars.

For all candidates other than Paul, if campaigns are going to continue through March and into April, they need to have some serious chance of victory.

The Romney campaign is probably best positioned with this calendar to outlive some early stumbles. If after Super Tuesday, Romney has lost more contests than he has won, he can look forward to April and winner-take-all Northeastern Mid-Atlantic states. Though, there’s a limit to how much he can count on that. If he does what he did last time and loses everywhere but in Caucuses and in Michigan and Massachusetts, the odds of him coming out victorious will be pretty thin.

A conservative is going to have problems if they’re a bit behind Romney to begin with, because those seven contests in April are going to be key and there are probably only two of them (Wisconsin and Pennsylvania) that any conservative could hope to compete in.

This calendar raises a lot of questions, and it probably means that a lot of the analysis given based on prior campaign is probably a little off.

by @ 10:28 pm. Filed under 2012 Primary Calendar

October 7, 2011

Iowa Caucus Tentatively Set for January 3

The Iowa GOP Central Committee convened last night via conference call, and they tentatively agreed to set the Iowa caucus for Tuesday, January 3. The date will be voted on and become official when they meet together in 10 days.

The move is a shot across the bow of New Hampshire Secretary of State Bill Gardner, who is still threatening to set the New Hampshire primary on January 3rd. In the past (in 1996, for example), Gardner has interpreted the New Hampshire law requiring their primary to be seven days before a “similar” contest to apply only to other primaries and not to caucuses. This year, for whatever reason, he is throwing a tantrum over Nevada setting their caucus on January 14. Gardner said because of the law, New Hampshire cannot go on Tuesday, January 10.

The RNC disagrees, and is “encouraging” Gardner to reconsider this new interpretation of the law — by threatening to strip New Hampshire of its first-in-the-nation status unless he relents and goes on the 10th. This move by Iowa appears to be an attempt to strong arm New Hampshire into common sense compliance. The timing is interesting, though: Gardner has said he will not announce a date for the New Hampshire primary until at least October 17th, ostensibly because he wants to ensure no other states go rogue like Florida. With the Iowa GOP signalling they will not wait for his decision, he may be effectively boxed in now and will look like the bad guy if he announces the 3rd – or earlier – now.

So most likely, this will be our early state calendar – and we should know for sure in a little over ten days:

January 3 – Iowa
January 10 – New Hampshire
January 14 – Nevada
January 21 – South Carolina
January 31 – Florida
February 7 – Colorado, Minnesota
February 11 – Maine
February 28 – Arizona, Michigan

That’s 87 days until the party starts, folks.

by @ 11:04 am. Filed under 2012 Primary Calendar, Primary & Caucus Dates

October 5, 2011

Nevada Caucus: Jan 14, 2012

Get ready for the Iowa caucuses in 2011, folks.

New Hampshire Secretary of State Bill Gardner was playing tough with the Nevada GOP this past week. New Hampshire law states that their primary must come seven days before any “similar” contest… in the past, it’s been assumed that wording meant other primaries, not caucuses. However, Gardner inexplicably went on a power trip this week, said the law applied to the Nevada caucus, and demanded that Nevada untether from NH and set their caucus date.

It was a game of primary and caucus chicken. And tonight, Nevada blinked.

They officially set their caucuses for January 14, 2012. Now, if Bill Gardner doesn’t relent of his tough guy shtick, he is expected to set the New Hampshire primary for Tuesday, January 3. And that, my friends, means an Iowa caucus in between Christmas and New Years.

Are you kidding me?

There is still a chance Gardner will come to his senses and just schedule the NH primary for January 10. If not, lots of folks will be spending Christmas in Des Moines this year.

Potential Early State Calendar:

December 28 / January 5 (?) – Iowa
January 3 / 10 (?) – New Hampshire

January 14 – Nevada
January 21 – South Carolina
January 31 – Florida
February 7 – Colorado & Minnesota (non-binding)
February 11 – Maine (non-binding)
February 28 – Arizona & Michigan

by @ 10:38 pm. Filed under 2012 Primary Calendar

October 3, 2011

2012 Calendar: Chaos Edition

With all the recent early state movement, it is time for the latest installment of our one-stop-shop for primary calendar information. Forcing the calendar backwards into January not only caused chaos among the early states, it also is wreaking havoc on the debate schedule.

What you see below is my educated guess as to where the debates will now land. Some of them, such as the FOX News / Iowa GOP debate on Dec 27, 2011 are scheduled in tandem with wherever the primaries or caucuses end up. In the case of that FOX debate, it is scheduled to take place exactly one week before the Iowa caucuses. ABC and NBC both scheduled their New Hampshire debates (currently listed as Jan 4-9) to take place in between the Iowa caucus and New Hampshire primary.

Other debates are scheduled to coincide with an event, such as the CNN debate on January 19. It just so happens that the Southern Leadership Conference falls two days before the new South Carolina primary, so that worked out well for them. Of course, FOX scheduled their SC debate for the eve of the primary, so we’ll see if the two organizations do any sort of negotiating so the candidates aren’t doing two debates in a row.

And finally, any date marked with an asterisk below is subject to change. Those are, again, educated guesses as to when those events will fall on the calendar. Isn’t this fun?

May 5, 2011 FOX News / South Carolina GOP Debate Greenville, SC
June 13, 2011 CNN / NH Union Leader / WMUR-TV Debate Manchester, NH
August 11, 2011 FOX News / Iowa GOP Straw Poll Debate Ames, IA
August 13, 2001 Ames Straw Poll Ames, IA
September 7, 2011 Reagan Library / NBC News / Politico Debate Simi Valley, CA
September 12, 2011 CNN / Tea Party Express Debate Tampa, FL
September 22, 2011 FOX News / Florida GOP Debate Orlando, FL
September 24, 2011 Florida Presidency V Straw Poll Orlando, FL
October 11, 2011 Washington Post / Bloomberg Debate Hanover, NH
October 18, 2011 CNN / Western States Leadership Conference Debate Las Vegas, NV
November 5, 2011 Illinois GOP Straw Poll Statewide
November 9, 2011 CNBC / Michigan GOP Debate Rochester, MI
December 1, 2011 CNN / Arizona GOP Debate TBD
December 10, 2011 ABC News / Iowa GOP Debate Des Moines, IA
December 27, 2012* FOX News / Iowa GOP Debate Sioux City, IA
TBD Des Moines Register / PBS / YouTube GOP Debate Des Moines, IA
January 3, 2012* Iowa Caucus
Between January 4-9, 2012* ABC News / WMUR-TV Debate Manchester, NH
Between Jan 4-9, 2012* NBC News / Facebook Debate Concord, NH
January 10, 2012* New Hampshire Primary
January 14, 2012* Nevada Caucus
January 19, 2012 CNN / Southern GOP Leadership Conference Debate Charleston, SC
January 20, 2012 FOX News / South Carolina GOP Debate TBD
January 21, 2012 South Carolina Primary
January 22-30, 2012 CNN / Florida GOP Debate Jacksonville, FL
January 30, 2012 NBC News / St Petersberg Times / National Journal Debate Tampa, FL
January 31, 2012 Florida Primary
February 7, 2012 Colorado and Minnesota Caucuses (non-binding)
February 11, 2012 Maine Caucuses (non-binding)
February 28, 2012 Arizona and Michigan Primaries
March 5, 2012 Reagan Library Debate Simi Valley, CA
March 6, 2012 Super Tuesday
April 1, 2012 First eligible date for winner-take-all contests

Did I miss an event? Let me know in the comments. Please note that this calendar contains only the major Republican debates, not the myriad of “forums” that various groups sponsor throughout the primary season.

by @ 4:06 pm. Filed under 2012 Primary Calendar

South Carolina Primary: January 21

We have another piece to the early state primary puzzle now: South Carolina GOP Chairman Chad Connelly will announce later this morning that the SC primary will be held on Saturday January 21, 2012.

This was earlier than anybody expected — the 24th or the 28th were the dates I kept hearing — and so it probably forces IA, NH, and NV at least a week earlier. New Hampshire will likely go on Tuesday January 10, putting Iowa in the first week of the year just like in 2008 — the very thing the RNC was trying to avoid with their new rules.

And so our updated calendar:

January 2 (?) – Iowa
January 10 (?) – New Hampshire
January 14 (?) – Nevada

January 21 – South Carolina
January 31 – Florida
February 7 – Colorado & Minnesota (non-binding)
February 28 – Arizona & Michigan

by @ 9:54 am. Filed under 2012 Primary Calendar

October 2, 2011

Nevada Bites the Bullet, Keeps Caucus Tethered to New Hampshire

Friday night, the Nevada GOP executive board met and expressed their desire to break away from the other three early states (IA, NH, and SC) and hold their caucus in February – after the newly minted January 31 Florida primary. The reason for this surprising decision was to keep all of their delegates, since moving before February 1 would cut their total in half.

However, when the executive board met again last night, in a near-unanimous decision they voted to keep their caucus scheduled for “the Saturday after the New Hampshire primary”.

Ultimately, they decided having influence was worth losing half their delegates.

Interestingly, the reversal of their Friday night decision came after talking to RNC leaders about potential rewards for following the rules. In light of Florida brazenly breaking the rules by moving to January 31, they wanted to know what they would get if they kept their caucus in February. Special treatment in Tampa? VIP passes? Anything? The RNC wasn’t obliging, and so the state GOP essentially said, “Screw it. We’re going to January then.”

NH Secretary of State Bill Gardner has indicated that he is in no hurry to name the date of his state’s primary — much to the RNC’s chagrin, since their rules mandated that states inform them of the primary and caucus dates by October 1 (yesterday). But this entire process has more or less been states giving the finger to the RNC, so that’s no big surprise. Gardner has said he wants to wait and see when all the other states are going before he places New Hampshire on the calendar.

And it all more or less comes down to Gardner and his decision now. Once New Hampshire is set, Nevada will automatically be the Saturday after, Matt Strawn will schedule the Iowa caucuses for a date prior, and the SC GOP will schedule their primary for in between Nevada and Florida.

As a post script to all this nonsense, it should be noted that Georgia (which was rumored to want to break the rules and move into February as well) has scheduled their primary for March 6 – the official “Super Tuesday” date set by the RNC. Also, Wisconsin has officially cleared out of February as well, moving their primary back (as expected) to April 3 – the “Super Tuesday” for winner-take-all states. Finally, last week New Jersey also moved their February primary back to June (also as expected). So the only “early states” we’re dealing with now are (in order):

  • Iowa
  • New Hampshire
  • Nevada
  • South Carolina
  • Florida
  • Colorado & Minnesota (non-binding caucuses)
  • Arizona & Michigan
by @ 4:13 pm. Filed under 2012 Primary Calendar

September 30, 2011

Nevada To Move, But Remain in February

This was unexpected:

Nevada Republicans will allow Florida to jump ahead of them on the presidential nominating calendar to preserve the state’s full slate of delegates to the Republican National Convention, state GOP chairwoman Amy Tarkanian said Friday.

The rub was this: the RNC rules gave four states (IA, NH, NV, and SC) permission to go before March 6. However, those same rules said the RNC would penalize even those four states if they jumped before February 1. Everyone assumed that with Florida jumping to January 31, the RNC would waive the second part of that rule – allowing IA, NH, NV, and SC to jump back to January with no penalty.

Well, earlier today the RNC made it clear that “the rules are the rules” and that those four early states would indeed lose half their delegates if they moved.

In light of losing half their delegates, the Nevada GOP executive board met tonight and decided to break away from the other three early states and stay in February. They will meet again tomorrow night to choose a date. The Politico article linked mentions that February 4 would be a natural choice for them…

by @ 10:35 pm. Filed under 2012 Primary Calendar

It’s Official: Florida on January 31 [UPDATED]

Politico has the news:

It’s official – Florida has now moved the date of its primary to Jan. 31. There will be more reaction in the coming hours, but the first out of the gate was from Iowa GOP chairman Matt Strawn, who was displeased and and made clear that his state will follow suit – resulting in a very compressed race to the first votes.

Strawn said he will announce the date of the Iowa caucuses as soon as New Hampshire sets the date for their primary — so all eyes are now on Secretary of State Gardner in the Granite State. As noted here before, the Nevada GOP’s language sets their caucus for “the Saturday after the New Hampshire primary,” and South Carolina is likely to go one or two Tuesdays after Nevada… so as soon as Gardner announces that will pretty much set the rest of the calendar.

I wouldn’t be surprised if New Hampshire sets their primary for January 17, making the calendar look like this:

January 9 – Iowa
January 17 – New Hampshire
January 21 – Nevada
January 24 – South Carolina
January 31 – Florida
February 7 – Colorado
February 28 – Arizona, Michigan

The official RNC deadline for states to move their primaries or caucuses is tomorrow, so theoretically we should have a finalized calendar in the next day or two. Theoretically.

UPDATE: William Gardner has said in light of Florida’s decision, he will be discussing with the other three early states and announce a date after “the dust clears”. Interestingly, Gardner said this morning that he cannot rule out a December primary, which strikes me as rather extreme. He has announced, however, the filing period to get on the New Hampshire ballot: October 17-28 – making Oct 28th the earliest filing deadline, I believe.

UPDATE 2: South Carolina GOP Chairman Chad Connelly is reportedly going to choose either the Saturday or the Tuesday before Florida for the SC primary — putting it at January 28 or January 24. He apparently was leaning toward a Saturday primary, interestingly enough, but may choose the Tuesday date as it will cost less than keeping schools and other voting places open on a Saturday.

UPDATE 3: It has been confirmed by MSNBC that the four early states – IA, NH, NV, and SC – are all in communication with one another and will “likely” announce their primary and caucus dates jointly.

by @ 11:06 am. Filed under 2012 Primary Calendar

September 28, 2011

Calendar Chaos: FL to Move to Jan 31?

Dean Cannon, Florida House Speaker, told CNN this morning that the supercommittee that was hand-picked to select the date of the Florida primary will meet from 11-12 this Friday, and will publicly announce the date of that primary after the meeting.

Cannon’s understanding of the date they will choose: January 31, 2012.

This prediction has thrown the early states primary calendar into chaos as Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, and South Carolina — the four states that have officially been given “early state” status by the RNC — have all announced they will respond accordingly.

As the head of the Iowa GOP, Matt Strawn has final control over Iowa’s caucus date — and he has announced that no matter what, Iowa will be the first contest to go. This means (if Florida follows through and puts their primary on January 31) that the Iowa caucus will likely be held in early January again.

Secretary of State William Gardner has control over New Hampshire’s primary date, and he also announced that he will move New Hampshire as early as necessary to retain its status as the first-in-the-nation primary.

And the South Carolina GOP has scheduled an announcement regarding the primary calendar for 11:00 eastern time tomorrow morning. It is unknown what they will announce, but it will likely be in a similar vein as IA and NH: that they will move the SC primary as early as necessary to retain its first-in-the-south status.

If Florida ends up placing their primary on January 31, we very well could be looking at a calendar like this:

January 9 – Iowa
January 17 – New Hampshire
January 21 – Nevada*
January 24 – South Carolina
January 31 – Florida
February 7 – Colorado
February 28 – Arizona, Michigan

*Nevada will move with New Hampshire, as they have stated their caucuses will fall on “the Saturday after the New Hampshire primaries”.

We will know more for sure on Friday afternoon when the Florida supercommittee makes their official announcement.

by @ 2:20 pm. Filed under 2012 Primary Calendar

September 25, 2011

Colorado Moves Caucus to Feb 7

Well, this is going to throw a monkey wrench into the whole early calendar thing:

Colorado Republican leaders say you can expect to see a lot more of the GOP presidential candidates in 2012. On Saturday, party leaders switched Colorado’s caucuses from March 6 to Feb. 7, the day after Iowa’s first-in-the-nation primary. GOP leaders said it means Colorado will have prominence in the election like never before.

All those who think New Hampshire, Nevada, South Carolina, and Florida are going to be okay with this, raise your hands… yeah, not so much.

Colorado is utilizing a loophole in the RNC rules to not get penalized for the move, too: much like Nevada’s caucus last cycle*, the Colorado precinct caucuses are technically nonbinding. The delegates chosen on Feb 7 will go to the County/District Conventions in April but are not bound to support a specific candidate. However, that does not stop the media from reporting the results of the caucus — like they did four years ago on February 5, 2008, for instance — and the public from seeing the headline that a candidate has won another state.

If there is any one candidate who this move particularly favors, it’s got to be Mitt Romney – who lost just 4 of the state’s 64 counties in 2008.

*One of the changes Nevada has made for 2012 is to make their caucus binding.

by @ 10:41 pm. Filed under 2012 Primary Calendar

September 15, 2011

2012 Primary Calendar: AZ and MI Edition

Today, the Michigan legislature took another step forward in the process to officially set their GOP primary on February 28, alongside Arizona. And so our debate/primary calendar looks like this:

May 5, 2011 FOX News / South Carolina GOP Debate Greenville, SC
June 13, 2011 CNN / NH Union Leader / WMUR-TV Debate Manchester, NH
August 11, 2011 FOX News / Iowa GOP Straw Poll Debate Ames, IA
August 13, 2001 Ames Straw Poll Ames, IA
September 7, 2011 Reagan Library / NBC News / Politico Debate Simi Valley, CA
September 12, 2011 CNN / Tea Party Express Debate Tampa, FL
September 22, 2011 FOX News / Florida GOP Debate Orlando, FL
September 24, 2011 Florida Presidency V Straw Poll Orlando, FL
October 11, 2011 Washington Post / Bloomberg Debate Hanover, NH
October 18, 2011 CNN / Western States Leadership Conference Debate Las Vegas, NV
November 5, 2011 Illinois GOP Straw Poll Statewide
November 9, 2011 CNBC / Michigan GOP Debate Rochester, MI
December 10, 2011 ABC News / Iowa GOP Debate Des Moines, IA
January 12, 2012 Des Moines Register / PBS / YouTube GOP Debate Des Moines, IA
January 19, 2012 CNN / Southern GOP Leadership Conference Debate Charleston, SC
January 30, 2012 FOX News / Iowa GOP Debate Sioux City, IA
February 6, 2012 Iowa Caucus
Between February 7-13 (TBD) ABC News / WMUR-TV Debate Manchester, NH
February 12, 2012 NBC News / Facebook Debate Concord, NH
February 14, 2012 New Hampshire Primary
February 18, 2012 Nevada Caucus
February 2012 (TBD) FOX News / South Carolina GOP Debate TBD
February 2012 (TBD) South Carolina Primary
February 2012 (TBD) NBC News / St Petersberg Times / National Journal Debate Tampa, FL
February 2012 (TBD) Florida Primary
February 28, 2012 Arizona and Michigan Primaries
March 5, 2012 Reagan Library Debate Simi Valley, CA
March 6, 2012 Super Tuesday
April 1, 2012 First eligible date for winner-take-all contests

Did I miss an event? Let me know in the comments. Please note that this calendar contains only the major Republican debates, not the myriad of “forums” that various groups sponsor throughout the primary season.

A quick reminder on primary and caucus dates: the South Carolina Republican Party chairman, Chad Connelly, has sole authority over the date of that state’s first in the South primary. He has announced that he will wait and see what other states do with their primary dates before officially moving off of February 28th. It is widely expected that he will move the SC primary back to either February 14 or 21. Once SC moves up, Nevada, New Hampshire, and Iowa will most likely move up as well.

In Florida, a committee appointed by the Speaker of the House, the Senate President, and the Governor will choose the date of the Florida primary. They have indicated that they want Florida to be the fifth state in the process regardless of what date that lands them on. The group was talking about March 1, 2, or 3 before Arizona and Michigan jumped ahead of them — none of which fall on a Tuesday. So it is incredibly difficult to guess with any level of certainty what day Florida will fall on. All we know is that it will be before February 28th.

RNC rules say that states must choose their primary or caucus dates no later than October 1, so theoretically we should know the final calendar in the next 15 days. However, RNC rules haven’t really meant much thus far in the process, so who knows how long this game will be played.

by @ 4:03 pm. Filed under 2012 Primary Calendar

September 13, 2011

What is Going on With the Primary Calendar?

So Arizona Governor Jan Brewer announced yesterday that Arizona will hold its Republican primary on February 28 — a move that, for the first time officially, sent the early primary calendar reeling.

But trying to figure out exactly what it means is just as big a mess. You can look for the early primary calendar on ten different sites and come away with ten different calendars. Nobody seems to agree on what the GOP primaries will shape up to be at the beginning of 2012. How can that be?

Well, it all depends on what factors you take into consideration. Some folks use the default dates held over from the 2008 primaries. Some extrapolate back from certain states, making educated guesses where the chips will fall. Some base their calendars off of when Florida might go; others don’t take Florida into consideration until they make their official move. Some places use a combination of a number of different methods. There’s a ton of different ways to compile an early states calendar.

But here’s what we know for sure: of the states that will be contested prior to the March 6 Super Tuesday, Iowa, Nevada, South Carolina, and now Arizona are the only four states that have officially and legally set their primary dates. That means at this exact moment in time, our early calendar looks like this:

February 6: Iowa
Between February 6-18: New Hampshire
February 18: Nevada
February 28: Arizona, South Carolina

Now, here’s the rub: everyone knows there’s no way the calendar is going to stay like that. South Carolina has already announced they will not share their primary date with Arizona, and are planning on moving theirs up. Most likely, that will mean a February 21 date for South Carolina, although again, that’s not set in stone.

Once South Carolina moves up, that may or may not cause Nevada to move. If Nevada moves, Iowa is likely to move into January in order to give New Hampshire some space. But again, this is all speculation.

And here come the other wrinkles in the plan: namely, Michigan and Florida. Michigan will vote this Thursday on when to hold their primary. Practically everyone expects them to hold it on February 28 along with Arizona – so pencil them in on that date.

Florida, however, has announced that it doesn’t care what date it goes on, they just want to be the fifth state in the process no matter what. That means going sometime after South Carolina (which will potentially be on February 21) but before Arizona and Michigan on February 28. Since elections are generally held on Tuesdays, this leaves Florida without many good options. So – and here guessing plays a large role once again – Florida may well land their primary on February 21, causing South Carolina, Nevada, New Hampshire, and Iowa to move even further back into January.

So with all that said, there are numerous ways this thing could play itself out. Before putting too much stock into any calendar anyone puts out there, you have to know all the assumptions behind it for it to be of use.

Understanding that, here is one way the calendar may play out:

January 23: Iowa
January 31: New Hampshire
February 4: Nevada
February 14: South Carolina
February 21: Florida
February 28: Arizona, Michigan

As an additional side note, some calendars list Wisconsin, Missouri, and New Jersey falling into this early state time frame as well. That is based solely on their 2008 primary dates; all three states are expected to move their primaries back — Missouri to March, Wisconsin to April, and New Jersey to June.

by @ 8:46 pm. Filed under 2012 Primary Calendar

August 29, 2011

2012 GOP Primary Calendar, End of Summer Update

This update has been a long time coming – here is the latest iteration of the 2012 Republican Primary calendar:

May 5, 2011 FOX News / South Carolina GOP Debate Greenville, SC
June 13, 2011 CNN / NH Union Leader / WMUR-TV Debate Manchester, NH
August 11, 2011 FOX News / Iowa GOP Straw Poll Debate Ames, IA
August 13, 2001 Ames Straw Poll Ames, IA
September 7, 2011 Reagan Library / NBC News / Politico Debate Simi Valley, CA
September 12, 2011 CNN / Tea Party Express Debate Tampa, FL
September 22, 2011 FOX News / Florida GOP Debate Orlando, FL
September 24, 2011 Florida GOP Straw Poll Orlando, FL
October 11, 2011 Washington Post / Bloomberg Debate Hanover, NH
Week of Oct 17 (TBD) Nevada GOP Straw Poll Las Vegas, NV
October 18, 2011 CNN / Western States Leadership Conference Debate Las Vegas, NV
November 5, 2011 Illinois GOP Straw Poll Statewide
November 9, 2011 CNBC / Michigan GOP Debate Rochester, MI
December 10, 2011 ABC News / Iowa GOP Debate TBD
January 12, 2012 Des Moines Register / PBS / YouTube GOP Debate Des Moines, IA
January 19, 2012 CNN / Southern GOP Leadership Conference Debate Charleston, SC
January 30, 2012 FOX News / Iowa GOP Debate Sioux City, IA
February 6, 2012 Iowa Caucus
Between February 7-13 (TBD) ABC News / WMUR-TV Debate Manchester, NH
February 12, 2012 NBC News / Facebook Debate Concord, NH
February 14, 2012 New Hampshire Primary
February 18, 2012 Nevada Caucus
Between February 19-27, 2012 (TBD) FOX News / South Carolina GOP Debate TBD
February 28, 2012 South Carolina Primary
Between March 1-4, 2012 (TBD) NBC News / St Petersberg Times / National Journal Debate Tampa, FL
March 5, 2012 Reagan Library Debate Simi Valley, CA
March 6, 2012 Super Tuesday
April 1, 2012 First eligible date for winner-take-all contests

Did I miss an event? Let me know in the comments.

Please note that this calendar just contains the official Republican debates, not the myriad of “forums” that various groups sponsor throughout the primary season. Please also note some important information regarding the primary/caucus dates in red: Iowa, Nevada, and South Carolina have all moved to officially hold their primaries and caucuses on the days listed above. Those three dates have been chosen by the national and state parties. The New Hampshire date is the expected date of that primary based on national party plans, but the New Hampshire primary is generally the last primary set because it has to react to whatever other states try to jump in line. Other states, such as Michigan, Florida, Utah, and Arizona, that are threatening to jump before the March 6 date mandated by the RNC are not listed on this calendar because no official dates have been set by those states.

by @ 3:38 pm. Filed under 2012 Primary Calendar

August 28, 2011

Republicans Should Prepare for a Long Primary

As the Republican primary moves ahead, the definite narrative is that the contest is a two-man race between Texas Governor Rick Perry and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney. Both Governors tout their jobs record; the former as Governor and the latter as a private businessman. Both Governors have their own strengths that they bring to the race that makes them formidable contenders. Perry for instance, has an easier time connecting with the primary electorate and is from the GOP’s strongest region. Romney has experience on the national stage and the best poll numbers against President Obama. Both men are strong in different areas of the country. In short, both Romney and Perry appear to have something to offer the Republican electorate.

All this together makes for an interesting dynamic in the Republican primary. The contest between Romney and Perry has the potential to extend far beyond Super Tuesday, the traditional point in the primary season where the Republican nominee is all but certain. In fact, the 2012 race could be the longest Republican Primary since 1980, when Ronald Reagan finally vanquished George H. W. Bush in late May of that year.

As I said earlier, Romney and Perry are strong in different areas of the country. Perry is strong in the South and probably the southern Midwest (downstate Illinois, Indiana, Iowa and Ohio). Meanwhile, Mitt Romney has strength in the Northeast and the Western states. With more Republican primaries being proportional, the ability of a candidate to rack up a huge delegate lead, like the one John McCain had after Super Tuesday, is diminished. With the exception of Florida and possibly Arizona, front-loading is less popular this time around than in primaries past. To make things more complicated, both candidates could also have beach-heads in the other’s areas. Romney could probably win Florida in the South and Michigan in the Midwest, while Perry could probably crack some of Romney’s strongholds in the Mountain West. Finally, both men can establish a large war chest, enabling them to stay strong much later in the primary season. After all, one of the main problems with Mike Huckabee’s campaign in 2008 was his chronic lack of funds. Romney and Perry will not have the same problem.

Of course, all this assumes that the conventional wisdom is correct and it will be a Romney v. Perry race. Who knows; maybe Bachmann keeps her strength in Iowa or Huntsman starts picking up steam in New Hampshire? Maybe something comes out about Perry during this initial vetting process? Maybe someone else catches fire or jumps in the race? We simply don’t know. But, if the contest for the Republican nomination does become Rick Perry v. Mitt Romney, don’t count on the race being over by Super Tuesday. This is not a bad thing either; Obama didn’t seem particularly damaged by his grueling primary season versus Hillary Clinton. Moreover, the more states and voters that get a say in who the Republican nominee is, the more likely that the eventual nominee will be more accepted by the electorate at large. A long contest will also allow the eventual nominee to build up their state-by-state infrastructure in the first half of the year. President Obama might not have won Indiana or North Carolina in the general election if he hadn’t had a strong organization left there from the primary season.

So, we Republicans should prepare for a long primary battle. And it might even be a good thing.

by @ 2:05 pm. Filed under 2012 Primary Calendar, Mitt Romney, Republican Party, Rick Perry

August 16, 2011

Sean Trende Assesses the Race for the Nomination

Political analyst Sean Trende is out with a fascinating new analysis of the GOP primary contest in this morning’s edition of Real Clear Politics.  I find myself pretty much in agreement with Sean, but there are some nuances and more intangible aspects to this contest as it is currently developing that I will discuss in a future writing.  So, rather than comment further, read Sean’s analysis here.

August 13, 2011

Iowa Straw Poll Winners and Losers

Winners:

Michele Bachmann: Winning here was probably more important than a lot of folks let on.  This campaign has been filled with flavor of the month candidacies that have attracted conservative support for a while and then fizzled.  There was Gingrich, and there was Cain. Would Michele Bachmann be just another flash in the pan?  The answer appears to be, “no.” She’s going to be in this race and has built substantial foundation in the early primary caucus states. She managed to hold off the supporters of Ron Paul who have been very adroit at winning straw polls recently. This result was something that no on expected at the start of the year.

Ron Paul: Paul managed to deliver a speech that didn’t ramble too much, and even made an appeal to social conservative voters who may not care too much for the seemingly dismissive way in which he addresses social issues. Paul keeps his name in the news and improves massively over his 2007 performance. I would not be surprised to find Paul in the top 3 finishers in Iowa come caucus time.

The Iowa Republican Party: No Mitt Romney, no Rick Perry. No problem. The Iowa Straw Poll saw more attendees with more votes cast which means more money for the Iowa GOP.

Losers:

Tim Pawlenty and Rick Santorum: Stick a fork in both of these gentlemen, they’re done. 

For Tim Pawlenty, his third was not a close third. He finished with less than half of the votes Bachmann did. So much has been placed on Iowa, there’s no way he’s going to be able to stay in this for the long haul.

The same thing can be said for Rick Santorum, who delivered the best speech of the afternoon, but ended up in 4th place with 10%. While certainly better than might be expected based on the polls, it’s unlikely to inspire donors, just as Tom Tancredo’s 13% 4th place finish didn’t keep him in the race even to be under consideration for the Iowa Caucuses.

On paper, both Pawlenty and Santorum have strong cases for the presidency. Pawlenty, as a two-term Governor of a blue state, and Santorum as a former leader in the Senate with a record of accomplishment. But they both lack a certain something that people look for in a President. What today’s results show is that they’ve not connected with the voters in Iowa, and they can campaign for six more months, and they’re unlikely to ever do so.

The campaigns won’t stop immediately, but I feel confident in saying they will stop and before Caucus time. The candidates are close to the last people to realize that the campaign is going nowhere.

Herman Cain:  Cain’s 9% performance showed that he’s a fading star in this race. His rhetorical gifts, charisma, and principle created a lot of buzz around him early. But his willingness to step on political land mines and get into irrelevant sidebars has cost him along with his failure to organize well in Iowa. Cain may stick around and be able to live off the land, but he’s going nowhere in this race.

Mitt Romney: Romney tried some non-participation participation in the Iowa Strawpoll with his visit to the state fair. Romney ended up with 3% of the vote which wasn’t horrible compared to what some of the other non-participatory campaigns did in 2008. However, Rick Perry beat Romney’s total. This is troubling news for the Romney Campaign because: 1) Perry’s name wasn’t on the ballot while Romney’s was, 2) Perry was attacked for committing an affront against the Strawpoll. That Perry received more votes than Romney says more about the lack of intensity of Romney supporters than it does Perry. At this point, Perry is a more concept than candidate to those giving the campaign a thumbs up. The Iowa Straw Poll serves as a reminder that Romney is perhaps the weakest presidential frontrunner in GOP history.

July 31, 2011

Pawlenty in Florida

The other day, I came across a fascinating Politico piece, which told of the extensive (and under-the-radar) groundwork the Tim Pawlenty campaign has begun laying in Florida:

The former Minnesota governor announced Friday that he’ll be taking time off from an all-out effort in Iowa ahead of next month’s straw poll for a two-day swing through Florida next week…

…Pawlenty will arrive in Florida on Monday. He’ll start his multi-city series fundraisers and huddles with potential endorsers in Orlando, where he’ll be joined by the three Florida state representatives who’ve already been chosen by their conference as the next three House speakers. The group will then head to Tampa on Tuesday, where the candidate will host a meet-and-greet at Buddy Brew Coffee, his first big public event in the state. Then Pawlenty heads south to Miami, for more donor and supporter meetings.

He’s not copying Rudy Giuliani’s 2008 Florida-or-die strategy, but Pawlenty’s campaign has identified a so far largely uncontested donor- and delegate-heavy state as a major resource for campaign cash and support. And while he’s been struggling to gain traction elsewhere, he’s found a growing number of people so attracted to his personality, education positions, immigration enforcement stance and strong Second Amendment rights record that they’ve been willing to go out on a limb and publicly back his campaign. If there’s an extended primary fight next year, Pawlenty’s set up the second-round Florida primary to be his campaign firewall.

…Pawlenty made the state’s importance clear from the start. He was the only presidential candidate to accept an invitation to the January conference of the newly-formed Hispanic Leadership Network — a group that includes former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush.

…Pawlenty’s Florida state chair, Phil Handy, who led Bush’s gubernatorial campaigns and education agenda as chair of the state Board of Education, said those connections to the popular former governor haven’t gone unnoticed.

…The investment has paid off. In addition to the succession of state House speakers, 11 state House legislators have endorsed Pawlenty. Of those, eight are freshman, many wooed by Pawlenty himself, who’s ‘s been regularly setting aside time on his schedule to make the appeals directly, either on the phone or in person.

…Picking up state lawmakers’ endorsements could help him surge in the Florida GOP’s “Presidency 5” straw poll in September, where delegates will likely fall in line with the state’s leadership, especially state House speaker Will Weatherford, the Florida GOP’s rising star, said Tampa-based GOP strategist Anthony Pedicini.

This marked the first time that I had heard Pawlenty has placed so much emphasis on the Sunshine State. As noted in the article, this strategy carries some risk, as the Governor still needs to prove he can garner enough enthusiasm to receive consideration as a true top-tier candidate. However, if T-Paw manages to pull off a victory (or a strong runner-up finish to Ron Paul) in the Ames Straw Poll and then translate his early Sunshine State support into a Florida Presidency 5 Straw Poll win, he would place himself firmly in that category.

And for a campaign that certainly looks to spend a large amount of resources in early states, the fundraising pool in Florida will certainly come in handy. Perhaps Team Pawlenty also hopes to ride the momentum from an impressive showing in Florida to success on Super Tuesday, a la John McCain in 2008. Of course, that assumes that T-Paw will perform well enough in Iowa to remain so long in the race.

By: TwitterButtons.com
By TwitterButtons.com

July 17, 2011

Here We Have Idaho…

Make room for one more on Super Tuesday:

Idaho’s Republican Party Central Committee, at its meeting in Moscow, Idaho on Saturday, approved moving to a caucus system – like the Idaho Democrats’ – for its presidential delegate selection in 2012, making the state’s presidential primary meaningless for both parties.

The Presidential Primary occurred in May when the nomination has almost always been decided.  I’m somewhat gratified that Idaho will have a voice as I pushed this at the 2008 State Convention and got defeated pretty overwhelmingly.

Having an Idaho Caucus helps two candidates in particular: Ron Paul and Mitt Romney  And in one way, that may be part of why the deal got done. The state’s political establishment is almost universally behind Romney, while party insurgents have strong loyalty for Ron Paul.  The new contest provides something for both.

If Romney wins New Hampshire and stays in the race, he has to be the favorite to win Idaho.  However, Paul supporters in the state are extremely well-organized and Paul could win, particularly if Romney doesn’t last that far.  If Paul doesn’t win, he should pick up quite a few Idaho delegates as a result of the Caucus.

by @ 8:53 pm. Filed under 2012 Primary Calendar

June 20, 2011

2012 Primary Calendar Update

ABC News has set a firm date for their Iowa debate in December, giving us a reason to update our 2012 primary campaign calendar:

May 5, 2011 FOX News / South Carolina GOP Debate Greenville, SC
June 13, 2011 CNN / NH Union Leader / WMUR-TV Debate Manchester, NH
July 10, 2011 Daily Caller / Americans for Tax Reform Debate Las Vegas, NV
August 11, 2011 FOX News / Iowa GOP Straw Poll Debate Ames, IA
August 13, 2001 Ames Straw Poll Ames, IA
September 7, 2011 Reagan Library / NBC News / Politico Debate Simi Valley, CA
September 12, 2011 CNN / Tea Party Express Debate Tampa, FL
September 22, 2011 FOX News / Florida GOP Debate Orlando, FL
September 24, 2011 Florida GOP Straw Poll Orlando, FL
October 11, 2011 Washington Post / Bloomberg Debate Hanover, NH
Week of Oct 17 (TBD) Nevada GOP Straw Poll Las Vegas, NV
October 18, 2011 CNN / Western States Leadership Conference Debate Las Vegas, NV
November 5, 2011 Illinois GOP Straw Poll Statewide
December 10, 2011 ABC News / Iowa GOP Debate TBD
January 12, 2012 Des Moines Register / PBS / YouTube GOP Debate Des Moines, IA
January 19, 2012 CNN / Southern GOP Leadership Conference Debate Charleston, SC
January 30, 2012 FOX News / Iowa GOP Debate Sioux City, IA
February 6, 2012 Iowa Caucus
Between February 7-13 (TBD) ABC News / WMUR-TV Debate Manchester, NH
February 14, 2012 New Hampshire Primary
February 18, 2012 Nevada Caucus
Between February 19-27 (TBD) FOX News / South Carolina GOP Debate TBD
February 28, 2012 South Carolina Primary
March 5, 2012 Reagan Library Debate Simi Valley, CA
March 6, 2012 Super Tuesday
April 1, 2012 First eligible date for winner-take-all contests

Did I miss an event? Let me know in the comments.

by @ 8:27 am. Filed under 2012 Primary Calendar

May 23, 2011

2012 Primary Calendar: Another Iowa Debate Edition

The Des Moines Register announced over the weekend that they are partnering with PBS, Google, and YouTube to host a debate on January 12, 2012. So our primary calendar now looks like this:

May 5, 2011 FOX News / South Carolina GOP Debate Greenville, SC
June 13, 2011 CNN / NH Union Leader / WMUR-TV Debate Manchester, NH
July 10, 2011 Daily Caller / Americans for Tax Reform Debate Las Vegas, NV
August 11, 2011 FOX News / Iowa GOP Straw Poll Debate Ames, IA
August 13, 2001 Ames Straw Poll Ames, IA
September 7, 2011 Reagan Library / NBC News / Politico Debate Simi Valley, CA
September 12, 2011 CNN / Tea Party Express Debate Tampa, FL
September 22, 2011 FOX News / Florida GOP Debate Orlando, FL
September 24, 2011 Florida GOP Straw Poll Orlando, FL
October 11, 2011 Washington Post / Bloomberg Debate Hanover, NH
Week of Oct 17 (TBD) Nevada GOP Straw Poll Las Vegas, NV
October 18, 2011 CNN / Western States Leadership Conference Debate Las Vegas, NV
November 5, 2011 Illinois GOP Straw Poll Statewide
December 10-11 (TBD), 2012 ABC News / Iowa GOP Debate TBD
January 12, 2012 Des Moines Register / PBS / YouTube GOP Debate Des Moines, IA
January 19, 2012 CNN / Southern GOP Leadership Conference Debate Charleston, SC
January 30, 2012 FOX News / Iowa GOP Debate Sioux City, IA
February 6, 2012 Iowa Caucus
Between February 7-13 (TBD) ABC News / WMUR-TV Debate Manchester, NH
February 14, 2012 New Hampshire Primary
February 18, 2012 Nevada Caucus
Between February 19-27 (TBD) FOX News / South Carolina GOP Debate TBD
February 28, 2012 South Carolina Primary
March 5, 2012 Reagan Library Debate Simi Valley, CA
March 6, 2012 Super Tuesday
April 1, 2012 First eligible date for winner-take-all contests

Did I miss an event? Let me know in the comments.

(Also note that CNN had released a date change that I missed for their New Hampshire debate next month; the correct date is noted now.)

by @ 9:08 am. Filed under 2012 Primary Calendar

May 3, 2011

2012 GOP Primary Calendar: Reagan Library Debate Moves Again

NBC News and Politico tonight announced that they were moving their debate at the Reagan Library up a week to September 7th.

The debate was originally scheduled to take place on May 2, but was postponed when it became clear the candidate field was taking shape more slowly than anticipated. The debate was moved then to September 14th. However, that date put it just two days after the CNN/Tea Party Express debate. Moving it back to September 7 allows the Reagan Library to be the first post-Ames debate, as well as the first post-Labor Day event.

So our latest primary calendar looks like this:

May 5, 2011 FOX News / South Carolina GOP Debate Greenville, SC
June 7, 2011 CNN / NH Union Leader / WMUR-TV Debate Manchester, NH
August 11, 2011 FOX News / Iowa GOP Straw Poll Debate Ames, IA
August 13, 2001 Ames Straw Poll Ames, IA
September 7, 2011 Reagan Library / NBC News / Politico Debate Simi Valley, CA
September 12, 2011 CNN / Tea Party Express Debate Tampa, FL
September 22, 2011 FOX News / Florida GOP Debate Orlando, FL
September 24, 2011 Florida GOP Straw Poll Orlando, FL
October 11, 2011 Washington Post / Bloomberg Debate Hanover, NH
Week of Oct 17 (TBD) Nevada GOP Straw Poll Las Vegas, NV
October 18, 2011 CNN / Western States Leadership Conference Debate Las Vegas, NV
November 5, 2011 Illinois GOP Straw Poll Statewide
December 10-11 (TBD), 2012 ABC News / Iowa GOP Debate TBD
January 30, 2012 FOX News / Iowa GOP Debate Sioux City, IA
February 6, 2012 Iowa Caucus
Between February 7-13 (TBD) ABC News / WMUR-TV Debate Manchester, NH
February 14, 2012 New Hampshire Primary
February 18, 2012 Nevada Caucus
Between February 19-27 (TBD) FOX News / South Carolina GOP Debate TBD
February 28, 2012 South Carolina Primary
March 5, 2012 Reagan Library Debate Simi Valley, CA
March 6, 2012 Super Tuesday
April 1, 2012 First eligible date for winner-take-all contests

Did I miss an event? Let me know in the comments.

by @ 8:35 pm. Filed under 2012 Primary Calendar

SC Debate Participants Set: 5 Podiums

The South Carolina GOP and FOX News have announced the official list of participants for their debate coming up on Thursday night, and they are:

  • Herman Cain
  • Gary Johnson
  • Ron Paul
  • Tim Pawlenty
  • Rick Santorum

Not exactly the roaring start to the primary season we have all been hoping for… on average, these five guys get around 10-12% combined in the national polls.

No Gingrich, no Romney, no Trump, no Huckabee, not even Bachmann signed up for this one. What I will be watching to see is if Pawlenty can manage to come across as a first tier candidate, or if being on stage with a bunch of third tier guys will diminish his image.

April 8, 2011

Who Will Attend the May 5 SC Debate?

One week ago, Rick Santorum became the first 2012 contender to officially announce his attendance at the first debate of the primary season, an event in Greenville, SC co-sponsored by FOX News and the SC GOP.

Later that day, Buddy Roemer announced he would also attend the debate.

Two days ago, Ron Paul seemed to end some speculation by announcing he would participate in the debate as well.

And so far, that’s it. With the debate less than four weeks away, the only folks signing up to debate are a few third-tier candidates. FOX News and the South Carolina Republican Party say there are no plans to postpone the event. Interestingly, the SC GOP Executive Director told the media that several candidates have “informally committed” to him to participate.

I’m setting the over/under on the number of candidates in this debate at 6.5. It’s time to make your predictions: who will participate in this debate? Who has informally committed to debating but not officially announced their intentions yet? Will any top tier candidates be there?

by @ 8:52 am. Filed under 2012 Primary Calendar, Presidential Debates

April 6, 2011

New CNN NV Debate Announced; More Updates to 2012 Primary Calendar

CNN came out with two announcements regarding GOP primary debates this morning.

First, they are sponsoring a third debate, this one in Nevada on October 18th. The debate will coincide with the Republican Western States Leadership Conference, which is comprised of GOP party leaders and activists from 16 western states and is meeting in Las Vegas on the four days around the debate. The Nevada GOP Straw Poll will also coincide with the WSLC.

CNN also named September 12th as the date of their Tea Party Express debate (previously announced to be sometime the week of September 5th).

This means our primary calendar now looks like this (with updates from the previous edition in bold):

May 5, 2011 FOX News / South Carolina GOP Debate Greenville, SC
June 7, 2011 CNN / NH Union Leader / WMUR-TV Debate Manchester, NH
August 11, 2011 FOX News / Iowa GOP Straw Poll Debate Ames, IA
August 13, 2001 Ames Straw Poll Ames, IA
September 12, 2011 CNN / Tea Party Express Debate Tampa, FL
September 14, 2011 Reagan Library / NBC News / Politico Debate Simi Valley, CA
September 22, 2011 FOX News / Florida GOP Debate Orlando, FL
September 24, 2011 Florida GOP Straw Poll Orlando, FL
October 11, 2011 Washington Post / Bloomberg Debate Hanover, NH
Week of Oct 17 (TBD) Nevada GOP Straw Poll Las Vegas, NV
October 18, 2011 CNN / Western States Leadership Conference Debate Las Vegas, NV
November 5, 2011 Illinois GOP Straw Poll Statewide
December 10-11 (TBD), 2012 ABC News / Iowa GOP Debate TBD
January 30, 2012 FOX News / Iowa GOP Debate Sioux City, IA
February 6, 2012 Iowa Caucus
Between February 7-13 (TBD) ABC News / WMUR-TV Debate Manchester, NH
February 14, 2012 New Hampshire Primary
February 18, 2012 Nevada Caucus
Between February 19-27 (TBD) FOX News / South Carolina GOP Debate TBD
February 28, 2012 South Carolina Primary
March 5, 2012 Reagan Library Debate Simi Valley, CA
March 6, 2012 Super Tuesday
April 1, 2012 First eligible date for winner-take-all contests

Did I miss an event? Let me know in the comments.

UPDATE: The Florida GOP and FOX News announced their debate in Orlando will be on September 22 (moving up from the tentative “sometime in October” reported earlier this year). Also, the Florida GOP will hold a straw poll after the debate that weekend as well.

UPDATE #2: And now the Washington Post has announced today that they will be co-sponsoring a debate with Bloomberg at Dartmouth College on October 11. This has been quite a day for filling in the primary calendar.

by @ 12:46 pm. Filed under 2012 Primary Calendar

April 1, 2011

Florida GOP Proposes Compromise on Primary Date

The RNC has lined out its early primary calendar, and it included included only four states going in February with the rest going on March 6 or later.

The Florida GOP began insisting their primary would be held on January 31, 2011.

After pressure from the RNC, Florida officials blinked and offered a compromise: they would move behind Iowa and New Hampshire (but before Nevada and South Carolina). Better, but still not March 6 – and not making South Carolina happy.

Yesterday, the Iowa GOP Chairman and the South Carolina GOP Chairwoman went public calling for the 2012 Republican National Convention be moved out of Florida if the state refused to play by the rules like everyone else.

Florida GOP Chairman Dave Bitner has responded to those two by offering another compromise: Florida will move their primary behind the first four states if Florida could still go in February.

This is an interesting offer from the Florida GOP. It would require the early calendar to be shaken up a little bit (South Carolina is currently scheduled to hold their primary on February 28, so everything would have to be moved up), but I wonder if the RNC is tempted to take this latest offer and end the stand off. Nobody really believes the convention would be moved out of Florida, and if the RNC doesn’t accept one of these compromises Florida will simply hold their primary on January 31 and blow up the whole thing. About the only bargaining chip the RNC holds is not allowing the Florida delegates on the floor of the convention, but in such a massively important swing state the GOP isn’t going to follow through with that threat, either.

What do you think? Should Florida be allowed to be the fifth early state? Should the RNC hold out in hopes the Florida GOP comes to their senses and moves back to March 6? What would you recommend to both groups in this staring contest?

by @ 8:48 am. Filed under 2012 Primary Calendar

March 30, 2011

Reagan Library Moves Opening Debate

Blaming the slow start to the GOP primary season (as we noted here at R4’12, it’s the latest starting primary since 1992), the Reagan Library is moving their debate back from May to September.

The debate, co-sponsored by NBC News and Politico, was originally scheduled for May 2, and the Reagan Presidential Foundation made a point of saying they would enjoy the tradition of kicking off the primary debate season every election at the Reagan Library.

Well, that tradition has ended after just one campaign (2008). Now, the debate will be held on September 14, after four other debates to be held in the early states of Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Florida.

That gives us the following calendar for the 2012 primary season:

May 5, 2011 FOX News / South Carolina GOP Debate Greenville, SC
June 7, 2011 CNN / NH Union Leader / WMUR-TV Debate Manchester, NH
August 11, 2011 FOX News / Iowa GOP Straw Poll Debate Ames, IA
August 13, 2001 Ames Straw Poll Ames, IA
Week of September 5 (TBD), 2011 CNN / Tea Party Express Debate Tampa, FL
September 14, 2011 Reagan Library / NBC News / Politico Debate Simi Valley, CA
October, 2011 (TBD) FOX News / Florida GOP Debate TBD
Oct/Nov (TBD) Nevada GOP Straw Poll Las Vegas, NV
November 5, 2011 Illinois GOP Straw Poll Statewide
December 10-11 (TBD), 2012 ABC News / Iowa GOP Debate TBD
January 30, 2012 FOX News / Iowa GOP Debate Sioux City, IA
February 6, 2012 Iowa Caucus
Between February 7-13 (TBD) ABC News / WMUR-TV Debate Manchester, NH
February 14, 2012 New Hampshire Primary
February 18, 2012 Nevada Caucus
Between February 19-27 (TBD) FOX News / South Carolina GOP Debate TBD
February 28, 2012 South Carolina Primary
March 5, 2012 Reagan Library Debate Simi Valley, CA
March 6, 2012 Super Tuesday
April 1, 2012 First eligible date for winner-take-all contests

Did I miss an event? Let me know in the comments.

by @ 8:33 am. Filed under 2012 Primary Calendar

March 24, 2011

2012 Primary Calendar: Another Iowa Debate Edition

The Iowa Republican Party announced today that they would be sponsoring a third debate in the run-up to the February 6 Iowa caucuses. This debate, the last to be sponsored by the Iowa GOP, will take place either December 10 or 11 in an Iowan city to be determined, and will be in conjunction with ABC News.

The other two debates sponsored by the Iowa GOP are both in partnership with FOX News – one right before the Ames straw poll and the other one week prior to the caucuses.

That gives us the following primary season calendar:

May 2, 2011 Reagan Library / NBC News / Politico Debate Simi Valley, CA
May 5, 2011 FOX News / South Carolina GOP Debate Greenville, SC
June 7, 2011 CNN / NH Union Leader / WMUR-TV Debate Manchester, NH
August 11, 2011 FOX News / Iowa GOP Straw Poll Debate Ames, IA
August 13, 2001 Ames Straw Poll Ames, IA
Week of September 5 (TBD), 2011 CNN / Tea Party Express Debate Tampa, FL
October, 2011 (Date TBD) FOX News / Florida GOP Debate TBD
Oct/Nov (TBD) Nevada GOP Straw Poll Las Vegas, NV
November 5, 2011 Illinois GOP Straw Poll Statewide
December 10-11 (TBD), 2012 ABC News / Iowa GOP Debate TBD
January 30, 2012 FOX News / Iowa GOP Debate Sioux City, IA
February 6, 2012 Iowa Caucus
Between February 7-13 (TBD) ABC News / WMUR-TV Debate Manchester, NH
February 14, 2012 New Hampshire Primary
February 18, 2012 Nevada Caucus
Between February 19-27 (TBD) FOX News / South Carolina GOP Debate TBD
February 28, 2012 South Carolina Primary
March 5, 2012 Reagan Library Debate Simi Valley, CA
March 6, 2012 Super Tuesday
April 1, 2012 First eligible date for winner-take-all contests

Did I miss an event? Let me know in the comments.

by @ 9:20 pm. Filed under 2012 Primary Calendar

March 14, 2011

Florida to Acquiesce, Move Primary

The primary calendar set in place last summer by the RNC and the DNC looks more likely to stand this morning, ending the chaotic game of leapfrog that beleaguered the 2008 primary campaign.

The RNC/DNC plan set the four early state primaries as follows:

February 6 – Iowa
February 14 – New Hampshire
February 18 – Nevada
February 28 – South Carolina
March 6 – First day for proportionally-awarded delegate contests
April 1 – First day for winner-take-all contests

Obviously, there is some wiggle room in this calendar — New Hampshire will likely move back to be further ahead of Nevada, for example — but the whole thing appeared to be ready to fall apart when Florida GOP officials insisted their primary be held on January 31.

Now, those officials are saying Florida will move their primary back behind Iowa and New Hampshire, as long as they get an early slot in the calendar. Legislation will be introduced to move the Florida primary to mid- or late February — still out of compliance with the RNC rules (and potentially before Nevada or South Carolina), but symbolically a step back away from the precipice of primary leapfrog.

It will be interesting to see where Florida lands in February (or if they finally agree to move it back to March), what the RNC will do to sanction them, and where New Hampshire ends up moving as a result. For now, thankfully, it looks like the 2012 primary contests will officially begin on February 6, as planned by the national parties.

by @ 9:26 am. Filed under 2012 Primary Calendar

March 7, 2011

“The Flag Drops” in Iowa Tonight

At least that’s how Iowa GOP Chairman Matt Strawn is characterizing the first debate/forum/event of the 2012 primaries – officially named the Iowa Faith & Freedom Coalition Presidential Forum.

The forum is being held at Point of Grace Church in Waukee, Iowa tonight from 5:30-7:30, and will feature five candidates-to-be: Gingrich, Pawlenty, Santorum, Cain, and Roemer.

Each candidate will be given 10 minutes to make his case before the anticipated crowd of 500 attendees.

Gingrich and Pawlenty will, of course, be the most closely watched tonight, although this blogger doesn’t think the event will have quite the importance former IA GOP Chair Chuck Laudner thinks it will:

“If you stumble [tonight], it could very well be the end. It’s that big… Monday night is the beginning of the winnowing process because you can’t split the social conservative vote 10 ways.”

With exactly zero formally announced candidacies, this event doesn’t quite have the punch it could have when it was originally planned. But it is the first time we get to see multiple candidates-to-be on the same stage at the same time, so it should be fun to watch, talk about, and dissect until the next event comes along.

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