First, Bill Gardner, the NH’s Secretary of State is set to move up the New Hampshire primary to January 14th, 2008. Iowa would then have to move up too, as David Yepsen notes. There’s an important undercurrent here. Both of these are swing states, and the DNC rules would strip both of these states of their delegates if they move up. In both of these states, protecting their special status in the Presidential nominating process is important enough to be something that people actually vote on. If the Democrats are on record opposed to the New Hampshire primary’s status, it could make it easier to win back a lot of those seats that the GOP lost in 2006.
Second, Wyoming is fighting to tie for second with New Hampshire. Really. The Wyoming GOP passed a resolution at their last executive committee meaning to have half of their delegate selection on the same day as New Hampshire. The AP says:
That’s what the Wyoming Republican Central Committee had in mind when they voted Saturday to hold their county conventions — used to select half of the state’s delegates to the Republican National Convention — on the same day as the New Hampshire primary.
The rest will be selected in a regular primary. There are several interesting things going on here. First, this gives the party apparatus more power in the selection process. It is not clear who that favors because the Wyoming GOP is notoriously more libertarian/socially moderate than the rest of the country. In recent years, they actually stripped the abortion plank out of the platform.
Third, and perhaps more interesting, there is a similar movement afoot in California at the California Republican Convention this weekend. Last week, Assemblyman Chuck DeVore, a leader of the Conservative California Republican Assembly, sent out a letter saying:
There is a 50-50 chance that the Legislature will vote to move up the June 2008 primary to February 5, 2008. This move will cost the taxpayers $90 million, more than double the November 2005 special election’s costs, because there are no regularly scheduled elections in which to consolidate that election.
If this early election doesn’t happen, you may hear of a proposed by-laws change on the floor of the convention that will allow us, the Party’s members, to select 53 of California’s presidential delegates out of the 165 at our convention a year from now. That would be one delegate for each Congressional district.
This will fail. However, it will put a taste in people’s mouths and a thought in their minds. In September, the RNC has a rules cutoff. Until that point, any state party may change its delegate selection process. Given how tight the contests may be, with strongly differing perspectives between insiders and the primary electorate at-large, there may be more attempts to change the rules to help or hurt various candidates.