Regular readers will know that one of my favorite topics is the primary calendar. Fascinating things are afoot.
First, on Straight Talk Express, an experienced party hack told me that smart New Hampshire money is now on a December primary. As I have discussed before, New Hampshire and Bill Gardner are committed to preserving New Hampshire’s first in the nation primary. And they are fully prepared to interpret a Nevada caucus as in contradiction with that.
Second, in today’s Politico, the South Carolina state chair used similar language to protect their position:
“We will change our date as often as we have to to remain the first-in-the-South primary,” vowed state Republican Party chairman Katon Dawson.
“We have a proud eight-year history when it comes to selecting our nominee,” Dawson said. “We’re determined to protect it,” even if that means pushing the primary up to October.
Note that in South Carolina, scheduling and running the primary is a party perogative.
And third, in today’s Hill, there’s an article about the RNC’s credentials rules. The meat of the issue is:
The rules, which are supposed to be automatic, require that states lose either half or 90 percent of their delegates, including their three RNC representatives, if they do not hew to the RNC primary schedule. If a state waits especially long before declaring its primary date, a small state like New Hampshire could be left with fewer than five delegates.
The article goes on to note that the politics of this are such that delegations will likely be seated anyways because states moving up gives them power to demand promises from candidates:
“Every candidate will be asked: New Hampshire runs to the risk of a penalty because of when its primary is — will you pledge that if you’re the nominee, you will work to see that the entire New Hampshire delegation is seated?” said a New Hampshire Republican source. “My guess is they’re all going to say yes to that.”