Kemp proposes southeast regional presidential primary

February 19, 2014 17:34 pm

by Jason · 6 comments

Secretary of State Brian Kemp has set the date for the 2016 Georgia presidential primary for March 1 and he wants other southern states to follow suit, creating what he’s calling “an SEC primary.”

In January, the Republican National Committee (RNC) voted to condense the Primary calendar for candidates seeking the Republican nomination in the 2016 Presidential election.

Under the newly passed rules, the traditional four early voting states – Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, and South Carolina – will cast ballots in February of 2016. To protect the important role of these states in the nominating process, harsh sanctions will be levied against states that choose to hold early primaries or caucuses before March 2016.

While political handicappers postulate on how the new Primary calendar will impact would-be Presidential candidates, Secretary of State Brian Kemp is working towards a March 1 Primary for Georgia and is proposing a plan to ensure that the voice of the Southeastern United States is heard loud and clear at the ballot box.

Kemp has reached out to fellow states in the Southeast to join Georgia and hold their Presidential Preference Primary first on Tuesday, March 1 2016.

If scheduled and implemented, Republicans and Democrats in the South will have a real voice in the nominating process. The South has experienced a major increase in population in recent years and this should be reflected in the Presidential Preference Primary process.

So far, Secretary Kemp has received positive feedback to his proposition from Party leaders in Georgia and Secretaries of State in the region. He discussed his proposal with attendees at the National Association of Secretaries of State (NASS) Winter Conference in Washington D.C. last week.

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

South Fulton Guy February 20, 2014 at 12:08 am

Come on can’t someone comment on Secretary Kemp’s proposal? “Secretary Kemp has received positive feedback to his proposition from Party leaders in Georgia and Secretaries of State in the region. He discussed his proposal with attendees at the National Association of Secretaries of State (NASS) Winter Conference in Washington D.C. last week.”

George Chidi February 20, 2014 at 8:52 am

OK. My two cents.

It’s the earliest election date possible without taking a penalty from the RNC. Holding it March 1 is an effort to front-load the nomination process to eliminate the drawn-out GOP knife fight that battered the eventual nominee and drained the finances of Republicans in 2012.

However, the move also favors big money. Group primaries are hard to barnstorm and spread any given candidate’s core campaign staff thin. The result gives an advantage to whoever can blanket the South most effectively with advertising, which is all about cash.

Nonetheless, I expect the rest of the southern states — hell, most of the states with Republican secretaries of state — to follow suit … with the exceptions of Texas and Florida. It’s simple game theory. Anyone scheduling a primary after March 1 will be at a disadvantage in terms of drawing attention if a critical mass of delegates are chosen early. If the race is over on March 1, the rest of the states will largely be ignored.

Except Texas and Florida. Each is big enough all by themselves to return a home-field candidate to contention. Given that both Jeb Bush and Ted Cruz are potential nominees, I suspect there’s no value in having their states join the pack.

drjay February 20, 2014 at 10:51 am

how is this really that different from “super tuesday” like from 88 and 92…

Charlie February 20, 2014 at 10:58 am

Brian Kemp didn’t get any headlines with those.

Doug Deal February 21, 2014 at 1:42 pm

Do those years exist, since checking the SoS voter history website, 2013 still doesn’t? Perhaps we are just writing that one off.

northside101 February 21, 2014 at 10:49 am

Super Tuesday originally was a Democratic concept back in 1988—Democrats, after losing 4 out of 5 presidential elections (1968, 1972, 1980 and 1984), did not want another “Walter Mondale” (who lost 49 states to Reagan in 1984), thus the hope that by getting most of the southern states to vote the same day, it would lessen the liberal dominance of the national party. Didn’t exactly work that way, as evidenced by Jesse Jackson winning 5 southern states that day (Georgia being among those). There were complaints that Super Tuesday was too big—not surprisingly Florida and Texas got the most attention—and a number of states broke away from it in 1992.

If the motive of Super Tuesday next time is to produce a very conservative—or more conservative—GOP nominee than John McCain (2008) or Mitt Romney (2012), well it isn’t clear that will be the outcome. Going back to the 1988 primary here in Georgia, the winner was (drums please!), Connecticut-born, Episcopalian George H.W. Bush—the first one. In second? Establishment candidate Bob Dole? In a distant third—evangelical Pat Robertson. Four years later, Bush faced a challenge from hardline Pat Buchanan (“we have a religious war in this country”)—and Bush won by nearly 2-1 in Georgia’s GOP presidential primary. Then came 1996—Bob Dole the primary winner in Georgia. Yes, Huckabee won the state in the 2008 primary, but only narrowly, thanks to a split in the more moderate vote between McCain and Romney. The winner of Georgia’s 2012 primary? Thrice-married Newt Gingrich? In third? Culture warrior Rick Santorum.

But the bigger problem the GOP faces has to do with the numbers 18 and 242. 18 represents the number of states that have voted Democratic in every presidential election since 1992 (Bill Clinton), and DC—and 242 is the number of electoral votes those states (combined) represent—almost 90 percent of the 270 needed to win the presidency. States like California, 55 electoral votes (which Obama won by 3 million votes last time), New York, 29 electoral votes (Obama +2 million votes in 2012) and Illinois, 20 electoral votes (which Obama won by nearly 900,000 votes last time). Add those 3 states together, you have 104 electoral votes—almost 40% of what you need to get elected. And Dixie isn’t so strong for the GOP either—Obama won Florida and Virginia both times. GOP isn’t likely to win the presidency in 2016 unless it can crack at least a few of the blue states—most of the South and the Great Plains are insufficient by themselves for a GOP victory in 2 years.