Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Calendar Craziness

For anyone who has been following the continuously changing presidential nominating calendar, this week has not been disappointing. Michigan has become the latest state to announce plans to leapfrog earlier - all the way to January 15, before New Hampshire's currently scheduled date (Jan 22) and Florida's (Jan 29). On Tuesday, The Washington Post provided this graphic showing the ripple effects this could have on the other early states:

A quick primer for those who may not understand what all the fuss is about. The attempts by Michigan, Florida, South Carolina and other states to move to the front of the calendar (called "frontloading," since it loads the primaries and caucuses at the front of the nominating calendar) is against the rules of the Democratic and Republican parties. Both parties have attempted to ease frontloading by creating rules that protect the status of Iowa and New Hampshire at the front of the calendar - the first caucus and primary in the nation. The DNC voted last year to add Nevada and South Carolina to the front of the calendar, to inject some diversity into the lineup of the "first in the nation" states. So the DNC rules allowed those four early states - IA, NV, NH, SC - to hold their primaries and caucuses in January, then any othre state could choose a date on or after February 5. But then the Florida legislature decided to move the state's primary to January 29, and then South Carolina Republicans decided to move their primary to January 19. These moves might cause New Hampshire to move to January 8, and Iowa to January 1 - or even into December (although the Iowa governer has said he won't do that).

The DNC is holding a meeting of its Rules and Bylaws Committee on Saturday morning, where they will decide what to do with these overly ambitous states. The current rules that govern the delegate selection process for the Dem's 2008 nomination ( - I'll try to find and post an official DNC link to the rules and other official docs) specifically call for sanctions against candidates who campaign in states that violate the official opening of the calendar (Feb 5). But it is pretty clear that some states don't care about the threatened sanctions... so the DNC is trying to decide what to do.

The meeting is on Saturday, August 25, 10:00 am at the Capital Hilton in Washington, DC.

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