Georgia voters may be getting a shorter primary cycle. The federal Department of Justice has long been disgruntled with the lack of turnaround time between the primary, primary runoff, and general elections for getting ballots to overseas voters. Secretary of State Brian Kemp offered to delay the close of voting for a longer of period to ensure that overseas ballots made it back home. However, the Feds aren’t warm to the idea. Jim Galloway has the document pertaining to this issue as well as an outline of the DOJ’s plan:
— The DOJ’s proposed plan is to require our federal primary election to be held on the Tuesday 22 weeks before the general election, which would be June 3rd for 2014.
— For any primary runoffs, the DOJ proposes that those be held 13 weeks before the general election, which would be August 5th for 2014.
— For any federal runoff election in the general election, the DOJ proposes that the runoff be held 9 weeks after the general election, which would be January 6, 2015 for the 2014 election cycle.
Time to venture into speculation land. How does this affect candidates? Further, does this help a candidate running against an incumbent? The time between the adjournment of the General Assembly and the primary election date has shrunk by over one month…which means that’s about a month less of time that incumbents in the General Assembly and statewide office could be using to raise money. An opportunity for candidates seeking the defeat of incumbents to stuff their war chests? I’d be interested to see if there is pressure on the General Assembly to “get the people’s business” done at a faster pace this next year. Also, I’d be interested in seeing how this could affect the now almost official race between Mayor David Pennington and Governor Nathan Deal (I say “almost official” since candidacy isn’t truly official until he or she signs on the dotted line).
Also, that last bullet should be thought about in how it could impact some big races in the future. 2008 saw a run-off in the US Senate race, but that run-off was in December of that year. Under the new plan, a run-off would be pushed to January of the following year. I’m sure there wouldn’t be much issue between the election and subsequent swearing-in for various offices, but you never know.
Let your speculation about how this change could affect the dynamics of primary elections.