Thursday, August 9, 2007

157. When will the voting begin? Will the campaigns ever end?

Later on today (it may be happening right now), officials from New Hampshire and South Carolina are announcing they are moving their Primary dates up a little sooner. It is entirely possible that some of the ballots for the office whose term commences on January 20, 2009 [the day of redemption, will it ever arrive?] might be cast in 2007 - that is to say later this year, probably in December. When will the lunacy stop? I've listed below, as best I can, the states with their Primary or Caucus dates, as well as the potential number of delegates those events represent, a number which is subject to change. The announcements today will likely invalidate this chart.

The current schedule starts in about six months with the Iowa caucus. Four other states plan events in January. Then comes February 5th, being dubbed any number of things, the best of which is National Primary Day. Looking way down the list, Kentucky and Oregon share a May 20, 2008 Primary date, with only three others to follow to complete the season, Puerto Rico, Montana, and South Dakota.

This entry is not to suggest we join the pack and have our Primary some time next month, or even to join on the February 5th free-for-all. In fact, I think all those states, districts, and territories, whose primaries or caucusses [ cauci? ] do not fall on either February 5th or March 4th, a slightly smaller but still substantial day for collecting delegates, should band together and have a late summer day, perhaps on May 20th, or even later. I know the presidential sweepstakes this cycle has been going on way-too-long already, and I am proposing to extend it, but - let's be honest - will any of these states see much attention from anyone once February 5th has passed? Other than their roles in fundraising, these lesser states (such as Kentucky) play little part in the election of a president. Should they?

We are fortunate here in the Commonwealth that some of the top-brass of movers and shakers are involved early in at least two of the Democratic campaigns. Senator Barack Obama has already been to Louisville twice and will probably return. Matthew Barzun and Carolyn Tandy, two Louisville operatives, play deep roles in his campaigns and they have allowed an Obama presence here that otherwise may not have happened. Similarly, Jerry Lundergan is close to both Senator Hillary Clinton and her ex-president husband. Both of them, as well as their campaign leaders, have been to Kentucky more than once, and are expected to return.

There is also a somewhat underground campaign supporting Congressman Dennis Kucinich in Louisville, as is his campaign most everywhere else. Chris Dodd has ties to Louisville through his education in the Brandeis School of Law, and Bill Richardson at least knows Kentucky is on the map given one of his staffers in Nevada is a local, Taylor Coots of Taylorsville. But, will all of these early meets and greets, touches from candidates and their staffs [pronounced stavs], and personal ties to the Commonwealth really mean anything once February 5th rolls past?

I think not.

Election dates are controlled by the legislature and administered by the Secretary of State. As of this writing, I can not say I have the greatest confidence in the legislature, who are as we speak, trying to come to terms on another Special Legislative Session, hoping to avoid a repeat of the abortion they performed on the one Governor Fletcher called in July. Our Republican Secretary of State is embroiled in what WHAS reporter Mark Hebert called a pissing match with our Democratic Attorney General Greg Stumbo over voting machines; given the subject matter, the match should be more than just one of pissing - the integrity of voting machines and the ability of a paper trail are paramount to free and honest elections.

In the past, the Secretary of State has proposed changes to the presidential primary and caucus season which are worthy of investigation. Secretary Grayson appeared before a congressional committee earlier this year outlining his plan to divide the country into four geographic regions and proposes a rotating regional primary plan, one which will hopefully be adopted before the 2012 campaigns begin - which given that the 2008 election day is November 4, 2008, the next campaign will dutifully start on November 5, 2008.

Secretary Grayson's plan proposes primaries and caucusses no earlier than March, which seems wise to me. April, May, and June dates would follow, with the states participating on a rotating basis. Over a period of sixteen years (which if this were to begin in 2012 would be by 2028, when I will be 67), every region will have been first at least once.

As Secretary Grayson has said, "the current system is broke and needs to be fixed." Actions such as the ones being taken today in New Hampshire and South Carolina are only adding to the problem. You can read more about Secretary Grayson's proposal at his website,, or at the website for the National Association of Secretaries of State which is

What's your take on this?

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Note: This list is in all likelihood inaccurate at press time.

January 14, 2008 Iowa caucus 56
January 19, 2008 Nevada caucus 33
January 22, 2008 New Hampshire primary 30
January 29, 2008 South Carolina primary 54
January 29, 2008 Florida primary 210

All February 5, 2008
Alabama primary 60
Alaska caucus 18
Arizona primary 67
Arkansas primary 47
California primary 441
Colorado caucus 71
Delaware primary 23
Georgia primary 104
Idaho primary 23
Illinois primary 185
Missouri primary 88
New Jersey primary 127
New Mexico caucus 38
New York primary 280
North Dakota caucus 21
Oklahoma primary 47
Tennessee primary 85
Utah primary 29

February 9, 2008 Lousiana primary 68
February 9, 2008 Michigan caucus 157
February 9 2008 Nebraska[16] caucus 31
February 9, 2008 Washington caucus 97
February 10, 2008 Maine caucus 34
February 12, 2008 District of Columbia primary 37
February 12, 2008 Maryland primary 99
February 12, 2008 Virginia primary 103
February 19, 2008 Wisconsin primary 92
February 26, 2008 Hawaii primary 29

March, 2008 American Samoa primary 9 - exact date not set
March, 2008 Democrats Abroad primary 11 - exact date not set
March, 2008 Guam primary 8 - exact date not set
March, 2008 U.S. Virgin Islands primary 9 - exact date not set
March, 2008 Wyoming primary 18 - exact date not set

March 4, 2008 Connecticut primary 61
March 4, 2008 Massachusetts primary 121
March 4, 2008 Minnesota primary 88
March 4, 2008 Ohio primary 161
March 4, 2008 Rhode Island primary 32
March 4, 2008 Texas primary 228
March 4, 2008 Ohio primary 23
March 8, 2008 Kansas primary 40
March 11, 2008 Mississippi primary 36

April 22, 2008 Pennsylvania primary 181

May 6, 2008 Indiana primary 79
May 6, 2008 North Carolina primary 110
May 13, 2008 West Virginia primary 37
May 20, 2008 Kentucky primary 55
May 20, 2008 Oregon primary 79

June 1, 2008 Puerto Rico primary 58
June 3, 2008 Montana primary 23
June 3, 2008 South Dakota primary 22

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The Archives at Milepost 606


Louisville, Kentucky, United States
Never married, liberal Democrat, born in 1960, opinionated but generally pleasant, member of the Episcopal Church. Graduate of Prestonia Elementary, Durrett High, and Spalding University; the first two now-closed Jefferson County Public Schools, the latter a very small liberal arts college in downtown Louisville affiliated with the Roman Catholic Sisters of Charity of Nazareth. My vocation and avocation is politics. My favorite pastime is driving the backroads of Kentucky and southern Indiana, visiting small towns, political hangouts, courthouses, churches, and cemeteries. You are welcome to ride with me sometime.