Sens. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) announced Tuesday they are proposing legislation that would institute a new primary structure that divides the country into four regions, with each region’s states voting in a different month.the plan would divide the nation into four regions, East, South, Midwest and West, likely centered on a large state and then each region would vote in successive months, beginning in March and running through June.
The Regional Presidential Primary and Caucus Act, which would take effect in the 2012 elections, is a result of this year’s rush by states to the front of the line, with big states like California, New York and New Jersey moving to Feb. 5 and Florida jumping to Jan. 29.
The senators pushing for the new plan said it was developed in response to the crowded front end of the 2008 primary season. According to them, next year, 33 states have scheduled their primaries or caucuses before March 1. In 2004, there were only 19, and in 2000, there were 11.I am not concerned about that issue. According to the Constituion, the Congress can override state rules regarding the time, place and manner of elections for federal offices. If Congress says, "We are going to have a regional primary plan for Presidential primaries" the states have little say in the matter.
On Feb. 5, 2008, 18 or more states will hold their caucuses or primaries, leading many to believe the partyies' nominees will be known long before the summer campaign season begins.
“Under this schedule, the primary contests in both major parties could be over by March 1st — nearly 6 months before the nominating conventions,” the document reads.
Aside from garnering more Senate support, the bill also raises a number of other questions.
Most primaries are set by state law, seen most recently in Florida, where the state legislature ignored the bylaws of the Republican and Democratic national committees and made its primary Jan. 29 by law.
I have long thought this plan to be a solid idea and I hope it will carry the day.