Thursday, October 18, 2007

States' presidential primary process flawed

By Ron Eachus
Salem Statesman-Journal
Salem, Oregon
15 October 2007

States are acting crazy. Like children shoving and pushing to get to the front of the line, they've been rearranging their presidential primaries and creating a chaotic process even more dependent on finding the big bucks to win the big states.

The nominating process traditionally starts with the January New Hampshire primary -- which, under that state's law, must be seven days before any similar election -- and the Iowa caucuses. The Democratic and Republican parties have allowed Nevada caucuses and South Carolina primaries before Feb. 5 to add more diversity to the early process.

This year, jealous states began leapfrogging. Florida moved to Jan. 29. South Carolina Republicans jumped to Jan. 19 to be the first in the South, so New Hampshire had to move up at least a week.

Michigan then moved to Jan. 15. Wyoming Republicans jumped to the front by moving to Jan. 5. California and New Jersey moved to Feb. 5, when 20 states now will hold primaries or caucuses.

Many of these moves are contrary to Democratic and Republican party rules.

The Democratic National Committee says it won't seat delegates from Florida and Michigan. Florida Democrats are suing the party.

The major Democratic candidates have pledged not to campaign in Michigan, and all but Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., have taken their names off the ballot.

The Republican National Committee also is threatening sanctions against Florida, Michigan, Wyoming and South Carolina.



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