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Author Topic: roundup of big state primary calendar news  (Read 8197 times)
Mr. Morden
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« Reply #75 on: September 01, 2007, 05:10:42 pm »
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Some fairly big news on the Democratic side.  First, there had been some talk of the MI Dems ignoring their own state's primary, and going ahead with a Feb. 9th caucus.  But that idea is now dead:

http://marcambinder.theatlantic.com/archives/2007/08/news_michigan_dems_are_unanimo.php

But the really big news is that all the Democratic candidates have pledged not to campaign in FL or MI or any other pre-Feb. 5th states other than IA, NV, NH, and SC.  Those four states had circulated this letter yesterday:

http://marcambinder.theatlantic.com/archives/2007/08/the_pledge_four_states_urge_de.php

which includes the following pledge for the Dem. presidential candidates to sign:

Quote
THEREFORE, I _______________, Democratic Candidate for President, pledge
I shall not campaign or participate in any state which schedules a presidential
election primary or caucus before Feb. 5, 2008, except for the states of Iowa,
Nevada, New Hampshire and South Carolina, as “campaigning” is defined by the
rules and regulations of the DNC. It does not include activities specifically
related to raising campaign resources such as fundraising events or the hiring of
fundraising staff.

Each of the Democratic candidates has now agreed to these terms:

http://marcambinder.theatlantic.com/archives/2007/09/the_jockeying_behind_the_four.php

So there will be no campaigning by the Dem. candidates in FL or MI (I'm assuming the Jan. 15th primary in MI will pass.  It looks like it's certain to.), or any other states that break the rules.

But wait.  NH itself has already announced that they're going to break the rules by moving their primary to at least a week before the Jan. 19th SC GOP primary and NV caucus.  (And IA will presumably move earlier as well....in fact, the people in MI who were pushing the Jan. 15th primary said the reason they were doing so was because IA and NH had already announced they were going to ignore the DNC rules anyway, so why shouldn't MI ignore them too?)  Isn't it the height of hypocrisy for them to be circulating this letter, which says that candidates should avoid other states that break the rules?  I'd say yes.  Anyway, yeah, I expect that IA and NH will be voting earlier than the DNC mandated dates for those states, which means that their delegates won't count either.  Does that mean that the presidential candidates won't campaign there either?  I doubt it....but that would seem to be the logical consequence of this argument.
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« Reply #76 on: September 04, 2007, 04:11:28 pm »
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Granholm has signed the bill moving the MI primary to Jan. 15th:

http://blog.washingtonpost.com/the-trail/2007/09/04/michigan_makes_primary_move_of.html

So it's official now.  And I think the primary calendar is now pretty much set among the largest states:

Jan. 15 MI
Jan. 29 FL
Feb. 5 CA, GA, IL, NJ, NY
March or later NC, OH, PA, TX

Though on the Democratic side, the FL and MI primaries will not count towards awarding any delegates, and all the Dem. candidates (except Gravel and Kucinich) have pledged not to campaign there, in order to respect the DNC calendar.  Speaking of which, MI Dems have sent a letter to the DNC, blasting them for selective enforcement, for apparently turning a blind eye to NH's flouting of the party rules:

http://firstread.msnbc.msn.com/archive/2007/09/04/344061.aspx

Quote
"Michigan Democrats, while disappointed our state was not selected as one of the four “pre-window” states [IA, NV, NH, SC], announced they would abide by the DNC calendar, unless New Hampshire or another state decided to ignore the rule establishing that sequence and that calendar," Levin and Dingell say in the letter. "It didn’t take New Hampshire long to say it would violate the calendar. New Hampshire’s Secretary of State, with the support of the state’s Democratic and Republican chairmen, indicated on August 9 that he was going to hold the NH primary before January 19, 2008. This announcement was made at a joint public ceremony and in partnership with South Carolina Republicans who had announced that they would hold their GOP primary on January 19."

More: "We object to your continued silence and acquiescence in the face of New Hampshire’s stated intent to blatantly violate the DNC rules and sequence... Selective enforcement of our rule undermines the progress achieved -- to open the process potentially for all states."
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« Reply #77 on: September 05, 2007, 02:57:11 am »
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In response to the MSNBC article which quotes the Levin-Dingell letter, a reader responded:


Michigan could invade New Hampshire, but after that whipping they took from Appalachian state........

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« Reply #78 on: September 05, 2007, 12:40:32 pm »
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Now there's talk that the boycott of states that violate the DNC rules might go so far as to include candidates witholding their names from the ballot:

http://www.freep.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070905/COL04/709050325/1001

Quote
Boyd said Granholm, who signed the earlier date into law Tuesday, has asked state Democratic Party Chairman Mark Brewer to proceed with plans for a Jan. 15 election and to submit the names of all the Democratic candidates by next Tuesday's deadline for the primary ballot.

But some of the candidates -- including former Sen. John Edwards, who has invested heavily in building early momentum in Iowa and New Hampshire -- were said to be considering upping the ante by withdrawing their names from the Michigan primary ballot.

Edwards campaign director David Bonior of Michigan didn't respond immediately to queries about his candidate's plans. But if one or more of the top contenders drops out, Michigan's Jan. 15 primary could quickly deteriorate into an insignificant sideshow.

"What a mess!" exclaimed Inside Michigan Politics newsletter editor Bill Ballenger, who noted that an incomplete ballot might prompt some Democratic voters to skip their own party's primary and make mischief in Michigan's Republican presidential contest. "You could have Brewer telling Democrats to vote in the GOP primary for Ron Paul," Ballenger said.
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« Reply #79 on: September 05, 2007, 02:02:20 pm »
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"You could have state Democratic Party Chairman Brewer telling Democrats to vote in the GOP primary for Ron Paul"

A big LOL to this failed primary system ... Tongue
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« Reply #80 on: September 20, 2007, 03:19:22 pm »
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The Florida Democrats are backing down on the Jan. 29th primary.  That is, there will still be a Jan. 29th primary, but it looks like the FL Dems will propose an alternative method for awarding Florida's delegates to the Dem. convention, thus putting an end to the candidates' boycott of the state.  So far, there's no indication that the MI Dems will do the same.  The deadline for proposing a new method for awarding delegates is Sept. 29th:

http://www.miamiherald.com/458/story/238351.html

http://www.tallahassee.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070920/NEWS01/709200368/1010

Quote
Florida Democrats, unable to work out a compromise to avoid harsh sanctions imposed by the Democratic National Committee, appear ready to give in and declare the Jan. 29 presidential primary meaningless.

While state party officials insist no ''consensus'' has been reached on what the party should do, there is a growing recognition that within the next week Democrats will announce a plan that renders the primary vote nonbinding in order to comply with national party rules. Florida Democrats will instead decide some time after Jan. 29 which presidential candidate is the winner of the state's delegates to the national convention.

One suggested plan is to have Democrats vote by mail, although another proposal that may win out calls for Democrats to hold a state convention sometime after Feb. 5.
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« Reply #81 on: September 23, 2007, 12:10:30 pm »
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Never mind.  The Florida Dems have done another 180, and will not go ahead with any alternative method for delegate selection.  They're going to go ahead with the Jan. 29th primary, and hope that the delegates somehow get counted:

http://www.sun-sentinel.com/sfl-flffladems0923nbsep23,0,190842.story
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« Reply #82 on: November 03, 2007, 08:26:42 pm »
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Believe it or not, there's still an outside chance that there could be a further shakeup to the primary calendar, though I think the chances of that happening are probably remote.

What's happening is that the effort by some Michigan Democrats to abandon the state's Jan. 15th primary, and instead hold a caucus on some other date, probably Jan. 8th, isn't quite dead.  This is happening on two different tracks.  First, since most of the Democratic presidential candidates have removed their names from the primary ballot anyway (and none of them are campaigning there), a bill has been proposed in the legislature that would scrap the state's primary, though it looks like it hasn't made any progress so far:

http://www.ballot-access.org/2007/10/29/hearing-set-in-michigan-lawsuit-on-voter-list/

http://www.ballot-access.org/2007/11/03/michigan-bill-to-abolish-presidential-primary-makes-no-headway-so-far/

If this were to pass, then the MI Democrats would hold a caucus instead, and the MI GOP would hold a nominating convention.  But I doubt the Republicans in the state legislature are eager to pass this.  Why would they give up on the primary, if it's giving the state some attention from the GOP candidates?  And it looks like Gov. Granholm is also not too keen on giving up on the primary.  She wants them to hold the primary, send a slate of delegates to the convention, and hope that they're seated.  (That's a strange approach though, as restoring the delegates wouldn't happen until after the nomination is already decided anyway, and it's a sure thing that the primary will receive little attention if Obama and Edwards aren't on the ballot.)

The other track is that, even if this bill doesn't pass, and the primary goes forward on Jan. 15th, under current MI law, either party has until Nov. 14th to decide whether they want to back out of the primary.  The MI Democratic party could just decide on their own not to play in the primary, and instead hold a caucus.  They're meeting on Nov. 7th to discuss this option:

http://www.mlive.com/newsflash/politics/index.ssf?/base/politics-1/1194047055108750.xml&storylist=2006elections

However, because Granholm supports the primary, and as governor, she's kind of de facto leader of the party in the state, chances are they won't do this.  They'll just stick with the primary (that currently lacks most of the Dem. candidates on the ballot and doesn't count under DNC rules).

Who are the MI Dems who are trying to opt out of the primary and instead do a caucus?  Looks like there are two different factions here.  One is John Edwards supporters:

link

Quote
John Edwards this week professed ignorance of any effort by his supporters in Michigan to effectively "blow up" the primary out there and have a caucus instead. Michigan's GOP chief, Saul Anuzis, told us recently that such efforts are "the worst kept secret in Michigan" because Edwards' supporters there feel he'd do well in a small turnout, union-heavy caucus instead of a primary (especially since he's not participating in the primary.)

Matt St. John, a volunteer "primary defender" for the grass roots networking group Victory NH, posed the question to Edwards at St. Anselm College on Monday.

"That's all for the people of Michigan to decide," said Edwards with a quick head shake and a somewhat bewildered expression. "I've agreed to abide by the rules established by my party."

The other faction is MI Dems (most notably Carl Levin) who are sick of Iowa and NH's priveleged position on the primary calendar, and want to screw over NH by scheduling a caucus on Jan. 8th.  This would presumably push NH into December, which would both 1) really force the issue of reforming the primary calendar in 2012, and 2) possibly cause NH to lose influence, with its primary getting lost in the craziness of the holiday season.

NH SoS Bill Gardner says he won't announce the date of the NH primary until the MI Dems make a final decision on whether or not they'll hold a caucus, and when that caucus might be.
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« Reply #83 on: November 07, 2007, 01:06:13 pm »
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Huge news out of Michigan:

A judge has ruled that law that moved the primary to Jan. 15th unconstitutional.  Which means that as of now, there will be no Jan. 15th primary in the state, for either party:

http://www.freep.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20071107/NEWS06/71107020/0/SPORTS07

Quote
Michigan's star-crossed bid to leap to the head of the presidential primary nominating process appeared to go up in smoke Wednesday as an Ingham County Circuit Court judge ruled that a provision in the law giving the Democratic and Republican parties exclusive access to voter lists from the Jan. 15 primary was unconstituional.

Judge William Collette said giving the parties exclusive access to the lists was equivalent to transferring public property to private interests and would have required 2/3 votes in the Legislature when the law was enacted last summer.

The list provision presented "a clear injury to the public interest," Collette said, shutting out citizens, journalists and activists for the benefit of the two major political parties.

Collette also said he was forced to suspend the primary, rather than merely invalidate the list provision, because the Legislature chose to include a "non-severability" clause in the law, making the entire act void if any part of it was struck down.

The lawsuit challenging the primary was brought by a group headed by Mark Grebner, an Ingham County commissioner and political list broker, that also included former Free Press political columnist Hugh McDiarmid.

Grebner said after the judge's ruling that he thought it unlikely the two parties, the Legislature and Gov. Jennifer Granholm would be able to enact a new primary law in time to go ahead with the Jan. 15 primary, which was already under a cloud of doubt because the date violated national party rules. Both Democratic and Republican national committees have moved to disqualify some Michigan delegates from the nominating process, and several of the leading Democratic Party presidential candidates had pledged to boycott Michigan over the rules violation.

Granholm spokeswoman Megan Brown said Wednesday morning that Collette's ruling was under review, but that efforts would be made "to make sure Michigan remains relevant within the presidential primary."

A spokeswoman for Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land said no decision has been reached about how to proceed.

Other stories on this seem to indicate that this decision will be immediately appealed, but I don't know what the prospects for it being overturned are.  So right now, it's unclear whether Michigan will actually hold its primary on Jan. 15th.  And it's unclear what the two parties will do if the Jan. 15th primary doesn't happen.
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« Reply #84 on: November 07, 2007, 02:55:12 pm »
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So what happens to the Democratic candidates who pulled out of the Michigan primary?  Will they be able to get on the ballot if it gets rescheduled to the original date or are they screwed?
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« Reply #85 on: November 07, 2007, 03:21:07 pm »
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From following this for a while, my sense of it is that if the MI Dems can't hold a primary on Jan. 15th, then they just won't participate in a primary at all, and will go with a caucus instead (which may or may not be held before Feb. 5th).  Not sure how the caucus would be run, but if it's like the Iowa caucus, then I don't think there would even be a ballot at all.  Caucus-goers express a presidential preference in their caucus meetings, and that gets reported in the statewide results.  At least, I think that's how it works.

Firstread now reports:

http://firstread.msnbc.msn.com/archive/2007/11/07/453895.aspx

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Sources tell NBC News that a legislative fix could come as early as tomorrow and leaders from both state parties believe Jan. 15 will go forward.
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« Reply #86 on: November 08, 2007, 01:48:15 am »
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The MI Dems had a meeting tonight, and the original plan was to make some kind of final decision on whether to participate in the state's Jan. 15th primary, in light of the DNC sanctions against the state.  However, in light of today's court decision to strike down the primary, that item was taken off the agenda, as they attempt to figure out if the legislature can / will do anything to fix the primary:

http://www.ballot-access.org/2007/11/07/michigan-democrats-postpone-decision-on-whether-to-hold-caucus/

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The legislature, if it has time, could do one of 3 things: (1) repeal the presidential primary; (2) amend it to cure the legal defect on who gets to see the list of participants; (3) amend it to force all major party presidential candidates to appear.

These three possible changes are not mutually exclusive. Concerning possible change (3) above, many states automatically place presidential candidates on primary ballots if those candidates are discussed in the news media. Michigan is free to amend its law to follow this policy. The existing Michigan law permits candidates to withdraw. Barack Obama, John Edwards, and certain other Democrats withdrew from the Michigan primary because the national Democratic Party doesn’t approve of the Michigan primary date, although Hillary Clinton remained on the Michigan ballot.

As I understand it, the Dems have a Nov. 14th deadline to tell the state whether they'll participate in the primary or not.  Except....that's the very primary that was just struck down.  So maybe there is no deadline.  It looks like the whole thing is up in the air.  And NH SoS Bill Gardner has said that he will not set a date for the NH primary until MI finalizes its plans.  If there is no MI primary on January 15th, I suppose the NH primary might well be held later than the previously assumed Jan. 8th.

Things are as murky as ever regarding when MI and NH are going to vote.
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« Reply #87 on: November 08, 2007, 05:11:23 am »
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Huge news out of Michigan:

A judge has ruled that law that moved the primary to Jan. 15th unconstitutional.  Which means that as of now, there will be no Jan. 15th primary in the state, for either party:

Other stories on this seem to indicate that this decision will be immediately appealed, but I don't know what the prospects for it being overturned are.  So right now, it's unclear whether Michigan will actually hold its primary on Jan. 15th.  And it's unclear what the two parties will do if the Jan. 15th primary doesn't happen.
I was looking at the legislation that was introduced last year, which reads as follows (where strikeouts are removed, and bold uppercase are additions.  The January 29, 2008 date was later revised to Jan 15th.

Sec. 613a. (1) Except in 2004 when no statewide presidential primary shall be conducted AS OTHERWISE PROVIDED IN SUBSECTION (2) OR (3), a statewide presidential primary election shall be conducted under this act ON JANUARY 29, 2008. AFTER 2008, EXCEPT AS OTHERWISE PROVIDED IN SUBSECTION (2) OR (3), A STATEWIDE PRESIDENTIAL PRIMARY ELECTION SHALL BE CONDUCTED UNDER THIS ACT on the fourth FIRST Tuesday in February in each presidential election year.

Which would mean that the law now reverts to:

Sec. 613a. (1) Except in 2004 when no statewide presidential primary shall be conducted, a statewide presidential primary election shall be conducted under this act on the fourth Tuesday in February in each presidential election year.

Subsections (2) and (3) in the amended law are the procedures by which the state parties can opt out of the primary, and if all do, the primary would be cancelled.  It doesn't appear that there was an option for the parties to opt out, and the change made in 2004 was simply to cancel the primary for that year.

The date of the primary has additional significance in Michigan since the fourth Tuesday in February is one of the uniform election dates for holding local elections.  The law that was struct down would move that uniform election date to coincide with the presidential primary (January 15, 2008).

The old law (now reverted to law) provided that the Secretary of State would issue a list of candidates based on media reports by the 2nd Friday in November (that's this coming Friday), and the state parties could add to by the following Tuesday.   Candidates would have until December to remove themselves from the ballot.

The part of the law that triggered the court's action was apparently an attempt to make party affilication confidential and not a public record.  Michigan does not appear to have party registration.  So perhaps an appeal could be made on the basis that "membership" in a political party is not a matter of public record.

There is a bill filed that would eliminate the presidential primary for 2008, which basically undoes everything that the law passed last summer did.  But I would think that the legislature would be just as likely to try to fix the January 15 primary as to completely eliminate it.
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« Reply #88 on: November 08, 2007, 09:25:20 pm »
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Update on Michigan:

The state legislature moved fast to fix the Jan. 15th primary law today, but they appear to have failed, at least temporarily:

link

Quote
Michigan's attempt to move near the front of the pack in the scheduling of presidential primaries hit yet another snag Thursday.

The Republican-controlled Michigan Senate approved a bill aimed at changing state law so a Jan. 15 presidential primary election could clear a legal roadblock. But not enough Democrats supported a procedural vote to give the two-thirds majority needed to allow the new law to take effect in time for the election.

The vote at least temporarily derails efforts to change Michigan law to allow the primary to go forward.

Unclear whether there's still any chance the Jan. 15th primary will be salvaged legislatively.  If it isn't, then the only way the Jan. 15th primary will happen is if yesterday's court ruling is reversed on appeal.

This article:

http://news.yahoo.com/s/realclearpolitics/20071108/cm_rcp/primary_calendar_drama_continu

makes it sound as if there is still a Nov. 14th deadline for all of this to be sorted out.  But if it's resolved with new legislation, then I don't see why the Nov. 14th deadline would need to apply.  The MI legislature can create any new deadline it wishes.  The only hard deadline is the length of time it takes to organize a primary.

What happens if there is no Jan. 15th primary (as is starting to look more likely)?  According to that first article:

Quote
One possible alternative Democratic plan would be a Feb. 9 presidential caucus to decide delegates to the Democratic National Convention. That was the plan before the January primary law was passed and remains the official plan recorded with the Democratic National Committee.

Republicans appear unified in preferring the mid-January primary, but if that falls through the nominee might be selected at a late January convention.

However, the second article I mentioned offers a different scenario:

Quote
If lawmakers miss next week's deadline, however, the parties will have to abandon the January 15 primary and move to a fallback plan to select their delegates. Right now, the GOP fallback is to hold nominating conventions in every county on January 17. Democrats are mulling the switch to a statewide caucus that would most likely be held on Saturday January 5 (two days after Iowa) or the following week, on Saturday January 12.

Suffice it to say, if the MI Dems hold caucuses on Jan. 5th or even Jan. 12th, the chances are extremely high that NH would move its primary to December.

Update: Yet another possible date for a MI Democratic caucus has been floated:

http://www.detnews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20071108/UPDATE/711080507/1361

Quote
If the primary isn't held, Dingell said the current fallback plan is to hold a Democratic caucus the same day as New Hampshire's primary, which will take place in early January -- although the date has not yet been set.

"I want the primary because I think it's the right thing," Dingell said. "But I'd still be happy if we have a caucus on the same day as New Hampshire."
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« Reply #89 on: November 09, 2007, 02:14:26 am »
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Update on Michigan:

The state legislature moved fast to fix the Jan. 15th primary law today, but they appear to have failed, at least temporarily:
The Senate took a bill related to timing of school board elections that the House had passed last May and had been pigeon-holed in the Senate Education Committee ever since.  On Thursday, the Senate discharged the bill from the education committee, sent it to he committee of the whole, where all the primary election law was stuffed into it, and then passed it, but failed the 2/3 vote to give it immediate effect.  The vote on passage was 26-10-2, but to make it immediately effective it was 21-15-2.

The new bill would give the SoS until November 14 to set the candidate list, after which the candidates would get a second chance to withdraw (previously all but Clinton, Dodd, Gravel, and Kucinich had withdrawn).

Since the bill greatly amended the version passed by the House, the House would either have to agree to the Senate amendments, or send it to a conference committee.  And without the supermajority to give immediate effect, passage of the bill is meaningless.

Quote
Unclear whether there's still any chance the Jan. 15th primary will be salvaged legislatively.  If it isn't, then the only way the Jan. 15th primary will happen is if yesterday's court ruling is reversed on appeal.

This article:

http://news.yahoo.com/s/realclearpolitics/20071108/cm_rcp/primary_calendar_drama_continu

makes it sound as if there is still a Nov. 14th deadline for all of this to be sorted out.  But if it's resolved with new legislation, then I don't see why the Nov. 14th deadline would need to apply.
The Senate stuck a November 14th deadline for setting the initial candidate lists.

I still think that if the court case is not appealed, that the law will revert to the 4th Tuesday in February. 

But that might not satisfy the Democrats, who might still end up holding caucuses.  The reason for creating the lists of persons who voted in each primary is to satisfy the National Democratic Parties rules which forbid the use of open primaries in the selection of convention delegates.  So even if the new January 15th bill were passed, the court would likely sever the part that made the primary acceptable to the NDP.

Quote
What happens if there is no Jan. 15th primary (as is starting to look more likely)?  According to that first article:

Quote
One possible alternative Democratic plan would be a Feb. 9 presidential caucus to decide delegates to the Democratic National Convention. That was the plan before the January primary law was passed and remains the official plan recorded with the Democratic National Committee.

Republicans appear unified in preferring the mid-January primary, but if that falls through the nominee might be selected at a late January convention.

However, the second article I mentioned offers a different scenario:

Quote
If lawmakers miss next week's deadline, however, the parties will have to abandon the January 15 primary and move to a fallback plan to select their delegates. Right now, the GOP fallback is to hold nominating conventions in every county on January 17. Democrats are mulling the switch to a statewide caucus that would most likely be held on Saturday January 5 (two days after Iowa) or the following week, on Saturday January 12.

Suffice it to say, if the MI Dems hold caucuses on Jan. 5th or even Jan. 12th, the chances are extremely high that NH would move its primary to December.

Update: Yet another possible date for a MI Democratic caucus has been floated:

http://www.detnews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20071108/UPDATE/711080507/1361

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If the primary isn't held, Dingell said the current fallback plan is to hold a Democratic caucus the same day as New Hampshire's primary, which will take place in early January -- although the date has not yet been set.

"I want the primary because I think it's the right thing," Dingell said. "But I'd still be happy if we have a caucus on the same day as New Hampshire."
I suspect that sooner or later, they'll discover that the primary is scheduled for the 4th Tuesday in February - which coincides with a uniform election date in Michigan.

But the Democrats won't permit an open primary to be used for delegate selection, and the Republicans won't want to go that late, so everybody will agree to cancel the primary in 2008, just like was done in 2004.

BTW, one of the articles mentioned that the GOP had penalized 5 states for holding early primaries or caucuses.  The 5 are FL, MI, NH, SC, WY.  IA and NV are apparently not penalized because their GOP precinct caucuses don't formally elect delegates to county conventions on the basis of candidate preference.  What procedure is used to elect the delegates is left up to those attending the precinct caucuses.
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« Reply #90 on: November 09, 2007, 09:40:42 am »
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From First Read. Even New Hampshire is getting penalized!

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“The Republican Party said Thursday that it would deprive New Hampshire, Florida, South Carolina, Michigan and Wyoming of half their delegates to the national convention because they planned to hold their presidential nominating contests on dates earlier than the party’s rules allow. The rules require the punishment of states that hold their nominating contests before Feb. 5. Iowa, which plans to hold Republican caucuses on Jan. 3, will not be penalized because the caucuses are technically not binding on convention delegates. For the same reason, Nevada, which plans to hold its caucuses on Jan. 19, will also not be penalized.”
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« Reply #91 on: November 10, 2007, 05:38:09 pm »
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Yes, unlike the DNC, which specifically allowed 4 states to vote pre-Feb. 5th, the RNC doesn't have any special exemptions for Iowa and NH, or anyone else.  But the RNC's sanctions aren't serious enough to dissuade candidates from campaigning in those states.  Losing half your delegates is a price that's more than offset by going first.

Anyway, back to Michigan.  Here are some additional details on the MI GOP's likely backup plan if the Jan. 15th primary fails, and some added background on the legislative dealmaking:

http://www.realclearpolitics.com/politics_nation/2007/11/michigan_in_chaos.html

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State Republicans have a contingency plan, in case further attempts to revert to the January 15 date are unsuccessful. In that event, the GOP would hold a state convention on the 25th and 26th of January, still before the approved February 5th window and still ahead of Florida's January 29 contest.

At the convention, delegates from each Congressional District will meet to vote on a candidate, and the winner from each district will get three delegates to the national convention, for a total of 45 delegates. The state's twelve at-large delegates will be apportioned by a vote from the whole body of delegates on the 26th.

Democrats' backup plan is not immediately clear, though the party would likely be forced to switch to caucuses or a convention as well. Still, Democrats in the state legislature are hoping to win passage of "pet projects," as Nowling calls them, in exchange for their votes to fix the primary. In order to save the January 15 date, and under pressure from Sen. Carl Levin, the primary driver of Michigan's effort to hold an early contest, one side will probably buckle to pressure and make the changes and deals necessary.

If nothing happens to restore the Jan. 15th primary, then I assume the MI GOP will go forward with this Jan. 25/26 convention, significantly diminishing the state's influence on the GOP race from what it would have been with a Jan. 15th primary.  (Both because it would be later, and because a convention isn't going to get the same amount of media attention as a primary.)  The Dems would hold a caucus, but there's no consensus on when that caucus would be.  It might be Feb. 9th.  Or it might be in January.  Potentially in early January, even as early as Jan. 5th.

The state legislature apparently will only be meeting one day this coming week (Tuesday) before going on vacation, so I assume if they can't make a deal via horsetrading on that day, the only hope for the primary would be if the court decision is overturned on appeal.  The state has in fact submitted an appeal.

If the primary is dropped, what effect would it have on the race?  Well, aside from the implications on the scheduling of the NH primary, there'd probably be no effect on the Dem. side, because the state had already been stripped of its delegates, and the candidates were ignoring it anyway.  On the GOP side, this would make the SC primary more important, which would probably collectively help Huckabee, McCain, and Thompson.  It makes it a little more likely that one of them will be able to upset Giuliani and Romney, because Giuliani and Romney would both have advantages in MI that they wouldn't in SC.  (Both because they have more $, and MI is a more expensive state to run in, and because Giuliani and Romney are not the kind of Republicans who you would expect to play well in SC.)
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« Reply #92 on: November 14, 2007, 01:21:44 pm »
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County clerks across MI have been ordered to halt preparations for the Jan. 15th primary, due to the court ruling:

http://www.michigansthumb.com/site/news.cfm?newsid=19022338&BRD=2292&PAG=461&dept_id=571474&rfi=6

The state has asked the appeals court for a ruling on their appeal of the decision ASAP, preferably by the end of this week, because they need time to prepare for the primary, if it's really going to happen on Jan. 15th.  I would be surprised if this isn't all settled by Thanksgiving.

Update:

The MI Democratic Party has confirmed that it will stick with the primary rather than switch to a caucus *if* the primary is held on Jan. 15th:

http://www.fox28.com/News/index.php?ID=28122

Also, the state Court of Appeals is set to hear oral arguments in the case tomorrow.
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« Reply #93 on: November 15, 2007, 04:38:19 pm »
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The Michigan Court of Appeals heard the case today, but offered no clues as to when they would make a ruling:

http://www.woodtv.com/Global/story.asp?S=7366050&nav=0Rcd

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State officials hoping to save the Jan. 15 presidential primary argued their case Thursday before the Michigan Court of Appeals, hoping for a quick verdict that would let the primary go forward.

But they faced a skeptical three-judge panel, who peppered both sides with questions about the case and asked repeatedly what the "drop dead" date was to make a decision in time for the election to occur. The judges adjourned the hearing without indicating when they might hand down a ruling, although they said they understood the importance of a speedy decision.

"We're operating on a short string here, and it's not anybody's fault," Judge Patrick Meter said.

It also looks like the hard deadline on when this must be resolved by is Dec. 1st.  If the primary is Jan. 15th, the overseas military absentee ballots must be sent out by then.

Also, NBC's Firstread continues to say that there's a good chance that this will be resolved legislatively.  But everything else I've read suggests the chances of that happening are slim.
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« Reply #94 on: November 16, 2007, 07:21:29 pm »
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The court has rejected the state's appeal, and the decision to strike down the state's primary stands:

http://ap.google.com/article/ALeqM5hAWD_zB3_RzCIVVeao207KrMPexAD8SV2L0O0

So now the only way to salvage the Jan. 15th primary is legislatively, but don't hold your breath on that one.
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« Reply #95 on: November 18, 2007, 01:01:11 am »
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The court has rejected the state's appeal, and the decision to strike down the state's primary stands:

http://ap.google.com/article/ALeqM5hAWD_zB3_RzCIVVeao207KrMPexAD8SV2L0O0

So now the only way to salvage the Jan. 15th primary is legislatively, but don't hold your breath on that one.

The Court of Appeal's opinion was kind of interesting.   The decision was 2-1 upholding the circuit court's decision, but the dissent laid out the whole case and the reasoning, and the majority decision simply agreed with much of the dissent, except the conclusion as to whether giving the voter list's to the parties was for a public purpose or not.

I suspect that the legislature held off meeting last week to wait for the court's decision.  If the court of appeals had overturned the decision, the legislature would be off the hook.  Now they will be able to bring pressure on the house and senate to pass the replacement bill.

It could still get procedurally messy.  The new primary bill HB 4507 was passed by the House last May (it concerned school board elections), and had been pigeonholed in a senate committee without a hearing.  The Senate pulled it out of the committee and grafted the primary legislation in to the bill, and passed it with a 2/3 majority which permits the lists to be given to the parties, but then failed to get a 2/3 majority to take effect in time for the election.

It also set a bunch of deadlines which have already passed.  So the House will probably have to disagree with Senate on the amendments, and then a conference committee will fix up the bill, and then it can be sent back to both houses to be approved, and given a 2/3 vote to take immediate effect.
An interesting twist in the new bill is that for a candidate to be left off the ballot, they have to sign an affidavit that they aren't running for president.  And even if they do that, the Secretary of State can make a determination that they are actually running and leave them on the ballot.
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« Reply #96 on: November 18, 2007, 01:02:09 am »
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The Massachusetts Senate has approved a February 5th primary.
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« Reply #97 on: November 19, 2007, 12:01:40 pm »
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Well, it looks like they're not giving up.  The MI attorney general's office is appealing the ruling again, this time to the state supreme court:

http://www.chippewa.com/articles/2007/11/19/ap/politics/d8t0r80g0.txt

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The attorney general's office on Monday filed an appeal with the Michigan Supreme Court, asking it to overturn Friday's decision by an appeals court. In a 2-1 ruling, Judges Patrick Meter and Donald Owens objected that a law recently passed by the Legislature setting up the primary would let the state political parties keep track of voters' names and whether they took Democratic or GOP primary ballots but give no public access to that information.

State election officials want the state Supreme court to rule by Wednesday so they can get absentee ballots out by Dec. 1.
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« Reply #98 on: November 20, 2007, 10:54:12 am »
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The Michigan legislature won't be meeting today after all, so it looks like any legislative fix is dead:

http://www.ballot-access.org/2007/11/19/michigan-house-wont-meet-on-november-20/

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The shrinking hopes for a Michigan presidential primary shrank even more on November 19. Michigan legislative leaders decided not to meet on November 20. This dooms the bill that would have tinkered with the presidential primary to make it feasible.

The only slight chance for a presidential primary would be for the State Supreme Court to accept the state’s appeal in the Grebner lawsuit, and reverse the lower courts, on the issue of whether it is constitutional for the government to furnish the list of primary participants to the two major parties, and no one else.

But since the State Supreme Court didn’t accept the case on November 19, and since the decision would need to come by noon, November 21, that scenario seems unlikely.
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« Reply #99 on: November 20, 2007, 07:48:58 pm »
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The Jan. 15th primary is looking deader and deader.  Now the state's county clerks are saying that there's not enough time left to get out all the absentee ballots:

http://ap.google.com/article/ALeqM5hAWD_zB3_RzCIVVeao207KrMPexAD8T1JFO80

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Michigan's county clerks said Tuesday it's too late to guarantee that absentee voters will have enough time to apply for ballots and return them on time for a Jan. 15 primary.

The Michigan Association of County Clerks said it wanted to pull the plug on the contest, now less than 60 days away. The group is concerned about ensuring ballots for absentee voters such as military members serving overseas, the elderly and the disabled.

"Unless Santa and his reindeer are prepared to deliver the ballots, it will be virtually impossible to get absentee ballots to everyone who requests one for the Jan. 15 primary," Saginaw County Clerk Sue Kaltenbach, who will become the association's president in January, said in a release.
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State officials want the high court to rule by noon Wednesday so clerks can get started preparing for the election over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. So far, the court has not said if it will take up the appeal.
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