As has been repeatedly noted, the primary calendar is strongly in flux. However, one of the most interesting questions is: what happens if New Hampshire moves up sharply, as I expect it will. Consider some facts:

  1. New Hampshire is committed (and empowered) to move up before, at least, Nevada, meaning that the latest it is held is probably Jan. 15th.
  2. Florida is committed by law to be one week after New Hampshire.
  3. The South Carolina GOP has committed to moving up to be the "First in the South" primary, which probably means before Florida, but after New Hampshire.
  4. The Michigan Dems have stated that if New Hampshire moves up too much, they will do something radical. And if they do, the Michigan GOP has committed to re-evaluating its date.

Perhaps the most important limiting factor here is that New Hampshire can call and hold elections very quickly. Once the ballots are printed, Bill Gardner can call an election almost whenever he wants. Therefore, New Hampshire will be technically capable of holding an election as early as early December. Would Florida be able to print ballots and hold on election on 4 weeks notice? Would the South Carolina GOP be able to do it on 3.5 weeks notice? What if the timing meant that candidates were campaigning over Christmas? (say NH holds it in mid-December, putting the FL and SC elections between Christmas and New Years) Would NV move up to hold caucuses the same day as SC? (they’ve never done caucuses like this before. Are they capable of doing that either legally or logistically?)

Those are merely logistical considerations. What happens when NV becomes irrelevant because it is competing for candidates time with SC and FL, both of which will have more delegates. Candidates will fly from NH to SC and FL.

Finally, what happens if people believe that we are approaching a brokered convention and every delegate will count?

I think that it is fair to say that the current calendar really is more a set of negotiating positions.

1 Comment » HotlineTV: Will early states get ignored? · April 26, 2007 at 10:18 AM

[…] Earlier, I argued that the flux in the calendar could really squeeze places like South Carolina, especially because of Florida. […]

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