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January 31, 2011 10:02 PM UTC

A Mercifully Shorter Primary Season?

  • by: Colorado Pols

As the Colorado Independent’s Joseph Boven reports:

Senator Rollie Heath, D-Boulder, said today that an elections commission will soon introduce legislation to hold Colorado primary elections in June in order to comply with new federal election guidelines.

Currently, Primary elections are held the second Tuesday in August. Under the proposed change, primaries will be the last Tuesday in June…

Colorado has been out of compliance with the Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment (MOVE) Act since enactment just months before the 2010 legislative session. Like many other states, Colorado – which has a late primary schedule – is unable to comply with the provision that oversees ballots are sent out by counties no later than 45 days before an election.

As good a reason as any–we know folks on both sides of the aisle last year who would have positively begged for four fewer weeks of intraparty primary bloodletting, even if there wasn’t a perfectly dispassionate federal requirement that we change the date.

Unless you didn’t get enough blue-on-blue (or red-on-red) action last year?


25 thoughts on “A Mercifully Shorter Primary Season?

    1. It said DNC/RNC rules prohibit caucuses before 1 Mar. That should have said 1 Feb. Several states currently have presidential caucuses/primary during Feb. Colorado did in 2008.

  1. if the last primary season had been shortened?

    Having the primary over in June means more nasty general election ads starting in July.  Are we ready for negative saturation ads during the dog days of summer?

    1. We’d still be saying Governor Hick. Hick would have just won by a larger margin when the news broke during the general election season about McInnis.

      1. I know the turn around for Romanoff supporters to Bennet was tough, as it would have been for Bennet supporters to become Romanoff supporters after that long nasty primary season. Things are still strained between some from each side.

  2. that an earlier primary shortens the season. More likely, the primary season would just start earlier.

    And even if the primary season might be shorter, the general season would definitely be longer, and I don’t think that is a net gain.

    It needs to be changed to comply with the MOVE Act. I just don’t think it cures anything else.

    1. That was the concern raised by the GOP at the Best Practices meeting in September; the season CAN’T start sooner because the first dates are set by the RNC and the DNC.  

      1. Yes, I realize the caucuses, county assemblies and state assemblies set the stage for the high season of the primary. Some races are not on the radar until then.

        However, for the big races where most of the money is spent and attention is paid–the “primary season” begins long before the caucuses if the race is going to be contested. If the schedule for caucuses doesn’t change, perhaps you are right. But a shorter time from then to primary might get the big races gearing up earlier before caucuses.

  3. Under the current calendar, parties really scramble to get credentials right for county, district, and state assemblies. If that calendar were condensed by six-weeks, it may prove nearly impossible.

    I hope there is a companion bill coming with this change to go to straight primary system, with the candidates petitioning onto the ballot using the current rules. For the presidential election, hold a primary in Feb. and use those results to determine how many national delegates each candidate gets and then hold a state central committee meeting in May to select those delegates.

    This process would keep the candidate selection within the party (only Dems can sign Dem candidates’ petitons etc) which is something I will always argue in favor of. And national delegates are something I feel should be done by the people who have invested time and energy into the party, not people who jump on a bandwagon that we will never hear from again after the election.

            1. since I just sit around on the internet and don’t actually affect any real change at all, it’s going to be a really new and different experience.

      1. are elected at both CD and state levels. The CD central committees are largely rank and file Dems, not necessarily “leadership”.  Actually the same could be said for the State central Committee because of the large number of bonus members there who are otherwise party officers.

  4. If the R’s and D’s have to get their house in order for Colorado to comply with the MOVE act, so be it.  I have never been a fan of Colorado’s caucus system.  

    I think it’s fair to say in heavily contested races we won’t see a great deal of change in the volume of ads and e-mails – only the timing.

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