We’re One Step Closer to a May Primary

What most Georgia politicos have assumed for a while has passed its first hurdle. This afternoon, House Bill 310, which sets up a May 20th primary for state offices to match the federal primary, passed the senate. The bill was carried by Republican Senator Butch Miller of Gainesville.

“Keeping two separate election calendars is not only impractical – it’s impossible,” said Sen. Miller. “The State of Georgia doesn’t have the personnel or technology needed to even consider pursuing such an option. By changing state and local candidate election dates to match those of federal candidate elections, we will be able to create a more efficient process that conserves state resources and taxpayer dollars.”

Here are the new qualifying, primary, runoff and general election dates:

  • General Primary Qualifying Period: Begins at 9:00 a.m. on Monday of the 11th week prior to the General Primary and ends at 12:00 Noon on the Friday immediately following (March 3 – 7, 2014)
  • General Primary Election: Held on the 24th week preceding the November General Election (May 20, 2014)
  • General Primary Runoff: Held on the Tuesday of the 9th week following the General Primary (July 22, 2014)
  • General Election: Held on the Tuesday following the first Monday in November (November 4, 2014)
  • General Election Runoff: Held on the Tuesday of the 9th week following the General Election (January 6, 2015)

The fifteen week period between the primary and runoff dates are likely to greatly change the way runoffs are run.

The bill now returns to the House for consideration. Final stop: the Governor’s signature.


  1. northside101 says:

    If not the earliest state primary in Georgia history (not counting presidential primaries, which in Georgia usually have been in February or March), certainly the earliest one we’ve had in at least the last generation. Since the 1980s, the earliest we’ve ever had was in 1996 (July 9), when the Olympics (July 20-August 4) resulted in a change—runoff was August 6 that year. In 2012, the state primary was delayed to July 31 because of redistricting. In any event, Georgia is moving its primary to a time of the year which is more typical for primaries–as some examples, North Carolina often has its state primary in May, Alabama and South Carolina in June.

    The 9-week gap between the May 20 primary and July 22 runoff certainly will be unprecedented as well, when typically the gap has been 3 weeks between the two contests. Will make for some interesting spending decisions especially in the Senate primary—spending enough money to make the runoff, but not spending too much where you are basically broke on May 21 and having to raise money quickly during the slower summer months.

  2. Jackster says:

    So why is the run off in the middle of the summer? Is the idea here to reduce voter turn out? Increase the amount of money you can raise?

    I would have thought it would have been closer to the actual election.

  3. Will Durant says:

    The US Senate race with almost certainly have a runoff on the Republican side and will then have 2 full months for the candidates to battle each other. Nunn has to love this scenario.

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