Putting Georgia “in play”

Some legislative leaders want an earlier primary date here in Georgia:

A measure filed today would move the 2008 primary from March 4 to Feb. 5 in hopes of creating a “national primary day,” said House Majority Leader Jerry Keen, a sponsor of the measure.

Arkansas, Delaware, Missouri, Oklahoma, Arizona and Utah are already planning primaries for Feb. 5. And California, New Jersey, Illinois are among other states looking at moving up to early February.

“We do not want Georgia left out of the process,” said Keen, R-St. Simons. “We want Georgia to be in play.”

The current presidential lineup starts with the Iowa and Nevada caucuses, followed by the New Hampshire primary. Then candidates head to South Carolina, which has a split primary, with Democrats on Jan. 29 and Republicans on Feb. 2.


The proposal, introduced by state Rep. Austin Scott, also makes a key change in election law aimed at reducing the number of runoffs.

Current law sends an election into a runoff if none of the candidates earns more than 50 percent of the vote. The House proposal would lower the bar to 45 percent.


  1. Adam Fogle says:

    It appears that pretty much every state is trying to move its primary to the front. Florida is even trying to move their primary to Feb. 2, the same day as the tentative SC GOP primary.

    I have a feeling the fight for primary date scheduling may be just as interesting as – and more confusing than – the actual primaries.

    We may even see a scenario where the GOP nominee is chosen after the new “Super Tuesday” Feb. 5 primaries.

  2. CHelf says:

    When every other state makes the same move, how does it put any of them in play? The whole strategy goes from precise targeting in organization and grassroots to the idea that it might as well be a full nationwide primary all on the same day with only the key states with the most delegates mattering.

  3. rugby_fan says:

    Will not happen. The RNC went to Florida and essentially told the FLGOP; move your primary and lose all power at the convention.

    I have a feeling Florida will back down and anyone who think the GAGOP will ignore the RNC (should they need to come down) is an idiot.

  4. atlantaman says:

    I think, in the current state of affairs, that the RNC needs the GAGOP more than the GAGOP needs the RNC.

  5. The Advocate says:

    The whole ‘primary’ system is silly. Why should a few states have more say than others.

    IMO, either we should have one national primary election so that each state has an equal say. Or the idea of Super Tuesdays where 8-10 states all vote together over 5-8 weeks to decide.

  6. atlantaman says:

    I think having the first Democratic primary in New Hampshire is hilarious. The Democratic base has some much in common with those NH dairy farmers, how many black people live in the state – seven?

  7. rugby_fan says:

    Chris; the problem is that the DNC/RNC could (not meaning they will) award, theoretically, 90% of the delegates to IA and SC effectively rendering anything else the states do void.

    I have reason to believe they might do so, should the need arise.

  8. I hadn’t thought of this until just now, but if all of the states are rushing to the front of the line, it might actually give your state more power to be further down the line.

    Someone could win 50% right off the bat, which would render all states after pretty moot, but imagine a scenario where 2 main candidates go through 25 “early” primaries in a period of 2 weeks and neither has a convincing lead on the other, both have been in the 30-30 range with other candidates splitting the rest.

    Those later primaries could get serious money, particularly if one candidate is trying to lock up delegates or send a message pre-convention (or pre-negotation or whatever). If frontloading doesn’t produce a nominee quickly (and I don’t see how it does) then all of those early states will essentially have wasted their primary on the status quo before the campaign could actually play itself out. The late states will be the only ones with any action.

  9. atlantaman says:

    “Chris; the problem is that the DNC/RNC could (not meaning they will) award, theoretically, 90% of the delegates to IA and SC effectively rendering anything else the states do void.

    I have reason to believe they might do so, should the need arise.”

    If the RNC did this, which there is no way it would be stupid enough, it would be committing hara-kiri. The entire party would implode, splinter parties would be formed as the other states would never stand for not being included in the process.

  10. serving egos says:

    I think that a brokered convention is more plausible with the Democrats than it is with the Republicans.

    From my research of the two parties’ nominating process, the Republicans use a “winner-take-all” system while the Democrats use a proportional representation system.

    To focus just on the Democrats for a second here, let’s say that a majority of the states in the Union hold their primaries or caucuses on February 5, 2008. Using the most recent polling data compiled by USA Today & Gallup, Hillary would get 40% of the delegates; Obama would get 21%; Edwards would get 13%; Bill Richardson would get 4%; and Clark, Dodd, and Biden would all get 1%.

    According to The Green Papers.com, there are 4,370 delegate votes for the 2008 Democratic National Convention. Getting away from percentages, and moving to hard numbers, if the primaries were held today in a “national primary day”, Hillary would receive 1,748 delegates; Obama would receive 918 delegates; Edwards would receive 568 delegates; Richardson would receive 175 delegates; and Clark (if he runs), Dodd, and Biden would all receive 44 delegates.

    Here are a few questions…

    A.) If Georgia, Florida, New Jersey, California, Alabama, Arizona, Utah, North Carolina, New Mexico, West Virginia, Arkansas, New York, Illinois, Oklahoma, and Rhode Island (basically 15 states) all hold their primaries and caucuses on the 5th of February, how plausible is it, under the Democrats’ proportional representation system for any candidate to receive the 2,186 delegates needed to clinch the Dems’ presidential nomination?

    Second question…

    If no candidate receives a majority of the vote prior to the Dems’ Convention, but Hillary has the most delegates, then is it plausible for her candidacy to be derailed at the convention after the first ballot? The reason why I ask this question is because the delegates to the convention are only bound to vote for a particular candidate on the first ballot. Afterwards, it’s a free-for-all, and every delegate vote is up for grabs.

    My third and final question is this…

    If there is a brokered Democratic Convention, who drops out and throws their support to other candidates?

    As I said earlier, I don’t have to think about this stuff when it comes to the Republicans, because whomever wins most of the primaries & caucuses pretty much has an inside track to win the G.O.P. nomination.

    One more thing, if Georgia’s primary is moved up, then would more emphasis be placed on the GaGOP’s President’s Day dinner & the DPG’s Jefferson-Jackson Dinner. I mean presidential candidates from both sides would feel compelled to come here just to show this state a little attention.

    Shoot, we might even get some offices set up.

  11. buzzbrockway says:

    Don’t the Democrats have “super delegates” which aren’t selected through the primary process?

    IIRC, someone said Hillary already had a number of these delegates committed, which seems odd given we’re more than a year out from the convention.

    Anyone know about this?

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