Election 2008

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States Jockey for Influence in 2008 Primaries

September 25, 2007 12:04 PM
by findingDulcinea Staff
The Florida Democratic Party defies the Democratic National Committee by scheduling a January 29 primary, becoming the latest state to push its vote earlier in the year; but are states actually hurting voters in their scramble for influence?

30-Second Summary

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An unprecedented 20 states have moved their primary elections to Feb. 5—now known as “Super Duper Tuesday”—creating an election schedule so front-loaded that later state votes may have little effect on either party’s nomination.

So, states continue to vie for influence and attention by scheduling earlier primaries. Although there are loose national party regulations that restrict states from moving their votes before Feb. 5, Florida has ignored these and moved its election to Jan. 29.

As a result of Florida’s decision, the DNC has blocked the state’s delegates from the 2008 Democratic convention. However, Florida is calling the committee’s bluff, betting that it would rather reinstate the delegates than anger the swing-state’s democratic voters.

Although state party leaders argue that their intentions are noble—to garner more leverage for their voters in the nomination process—many analysts think the moves are actually degrading the election process.

The crowded primary will force candidates to campaign in multiple regions simultaneously, spending less time traveling to individual areas and engaging voters. This also means a heavier dependence on television and radio ads, a trend that will send the already high cost of campaigning even higher.

Congress is considering a bill that would rotate regional primaries each election cycle. But Constitutional restrictions have prevented the 300 such bills proposed over the past century from gaining approval.

The proposed legislation would do nothing to regulate the 2008 primary schedule, which may still move as early as December 2007, depending on Iowa’s and New Hampshire’s still-unsettled election dates.

Headline Links: Florida's move and what it means for primary regulation

Background: Recent primary moves

Opinions: How will earlier primaries affect campaigning?

Reference Material: History of the primary elections

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