Has anyone else seen this one? I haven't heard much fuss about this despite the potentially dire implications, especially with regard to state-wide races.
States question value of presidential primaries
So far, Kansas, Colorado and Utah -- all with Republican-controlled legislatures -- have canceled their state-run 2004 primaries.
Republican legislatures tried unsuccessfully to drop primaries in Arizona and Missouri, but Democratic governors either vetoed the primary bill or restored the funding.
Some Democrats complain that cutting primaries hurts them especially, with their crowded field of candidates. President Bush has no challenger.
Other Democrats, however, are pushing to get rid of primaries. Maine dropped its presidential primary for next year, and New Mexico effectively did -- it passed a law allowing parties to hold caucuses, and then-Democratic Gov. Bill Richardson set an early Feb. 3 caucus (June primaries will go on for other elections).
While there are some legitimate gripes regarding effectiveness/value of the later primaries in this compressed primary schedule, I would still consider this a "bad thing". Essentially the argument comes down to the states are starved for money so they're eliminating voting for cost reasons. Even the later presidential primaries will influence how a candidate runs in the general, even if they don't influence who runs in the general.
Do none of these states have any state races for which a primary would be justified? For example, Senate seats, or gubernatorial races?
Then there's the question of ulterior motive of cost-cutting-out primaries due to national Republican malfeasance. Protect Bush from a Republican challenger, or force the Democratic party to fund elections out of its own pockets, thus starving out funds for other purposes.
[Massachusetts Secretary of State William] Galvin, a Democrat, worries instead that the anti-primary push in GOP-controlled states is an effort to stop any criticism of Bush from within his party.
"They don't want a president on the ballot when people can come out and make a protest," he said.
But Christine Iverson, a spokeswoman at the Republican National Committee, said the decisions have been made by the states, not the national party, and for them cost is the main concern.
"There's no reason to spend the money when it isn't necessary," she said.
In some states where the government has chosen not to hold the primary, the state Democratic Party has decided to conduct one anyway and bear the cost itself.
South Carolina's Democrats are struggling to raise an estimated $500,000 for their Feb. 3 contest. Utah's Democrats also want their voters to have a say.
"We want to show the Utah Legislature they were wrong and the democratic process is alive in Utah," said state party chairman Donald Dunn.
I haven't yet looked into the implications of this on a state-by-state basis, but there's certainly a lot to think about.