October 24th, 2007
03:00 PM ET
11 years ago

Levin adds to primary chaos

Levin is threatening to move Michigan's primary to the same day as New Hampshire.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - If you thought the presidential primary calendar chaos couldn’t get any worse, you were wrong.

Sen. Carl Levin, D-Michigan, Wednesday threatened to hold his state’s primary contest on the same day as the New Hampshire primary. Levin, who has long argued against New Hampshire’s status as the first primary state, told the Politico Web site that he’ll move the Michigan date up in order to end what he calls the Granite State’s “cockamamie” first in the nation role.

Michigan recently moved its primary up to January 15, forcing New Hampshire to hold its contest no later than January 8th. New Hampshire state law dictates that it holds the primary one week earlier than any similar event.

New Hampshire Secretary of State Bill Gardner, the man who decides when the state’s primary will be held, has said for weeks that he’s prepared to move the New Hampshire primary to December to keep his state first. Gardner did move up the filing period for the candidates to get their names on the ballot. The White House hopefuls now must file by November 2. That could allow Gardner to hold the primary in December, if needed.

An aide to Levin later told CNN the Michigan Democrat thinks his state should abide by the rules if the other states do. But if other states successfully seek to hold their primaries earlier, Levin thinks Michigan should do the same, according to the aide. But the aide added the decision ultimately rests with Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm.

Reacting to Levin's comments Wednesday, Gardner told CNN he is taking a wait-and-see attitude, but acknowledged holding the Granite State's primary in December is a real possibility.

"I need to just wait and and see what actually happens rather than–there are too many unknowns at the moment," Gardner said. "It's always been my preference that the New Hampshire primary be in the year that a president gets elected but it's not what I prefer that matters. It's the state law that matters and if need be, we could end up in the previous year and our law has that phrase in it that it could be the previous year if necessary - And it could be."

Michigan and Florida, which moved its primary to January 29, have both been penalized by the national political parties for their moves. The Democratic Party is threatening not to seat any of the delegates from either state at their presidential convention next year. The Republicans are threatening not to seat half of the delegates from those two states.

Levin and other Michigan Democrats have long argued that New Hampshire, because of its demographics, doesn’t deserve its status as the first primary state. New Hampshire is prominently white. But New Hampshire argues that it deserves the role because the state is small and easily accessible to the candidates, and because New Hampshire residents are experienced at questioning and holding the candidates accountable.

- CNN Deputy Political Director Paul Steinhauser

Filed under: Michigan • New Hampshire
soundoff (31 Responses)
  1. Henry Tucker, Ga

    You yankees won the war, but lord yall sure like to make a mess of things!

    Nice going, Carl. In the south it's called a pissing contest – no one wins. But you go ahead and unzip...Larry Craig can't wait! (ok that last line was a joke).

    October 24, 2007 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  2. JC, Motor City MI

    Too bad Carl doesn't get a vote on when the primary is held, that is up to the Michigan legislature.

    October 24, 2007 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  3. Dave, Cheverly, MD

    OMG… Can they make it any easier to figure out what the desired results of this absolute childish NON-SENSE is really about? There is but one Major Democratic candidate left on that ballet. That’s is Hillary. There was nothing wrong when Michigan was on FEB 5th. Now we get closer to the truth. Hillary will loose Iowa and New Hampshire will follow with her second defeat. Now Michigan wants to save her by having theirs on the SAME day as New Hampshire. Then they and the Media will shout out Hillary’s NON-recognized DNC win, as she is the only major name on the ballet. Michigan, why not keep the Feb 5th date this year, have ALL candidates names on ballet. Then go to court after the primary, do hand stands, eat ice cream the fastest or however you want to protest. But the people’s votes come before this NON-SENSE.

    October 24, 2007 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  4. Arkay, MI

    "New Hampshire residents are experienced at questioning and holding the candidates accountable"

    If this were true, then the whole country needs to learn from NH residents

    October 24, 2007 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  5. therealist

    Why not, its already decided anyway...

    October 24, 2007 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  6. b

    To Henry in Tucker, GA:

    The North make a "mess of things?"

    Last I checked, the bottom fifteen ranked states in education are, you guessed it, in the South. And, I live in Texas which is dead last – a march that started when the education governor, now Coblunder-In-Chief was in charge here!

    So, I'd rather have Senator Levin's "mess" than yours.

    October 24, 2007 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |


    October 24, 2007 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  8. Eric, from THE Republic of Texas

    I say we allow California, Oregon and Washington to go first in the Dem primary calendar, to ensure the kookiest of the kooks select the kookiest liberal candidate out there (Kucinich anyone?).

    Here's hoping for a Democrat "McGovern Moment" in 2008.

    October 24, 2007 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  9. Danny G. Boca Raton, FL

    It does seem ironic that in one of the most important elections of our times, we have state legislator's moving the dates of election to pander at an attempt to increase voting for either side. These states have elected officials that have disregarded their own party rules in favor of their own agenda's. if you want to align new dates, why not work withig party rules to achieve concensus rather than to work indepently and risk turning off voters to the process. it seems ridiculous... also if they don't like the rules, work with party officials to change them... this is what I would call "gestapo" tactics and it will have an affect in both political parties for years to come...

    October 24, 2007 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  10. Wynter, Loudon, NH

    The problem these knuckleheads need to understand is that the only way to change the schedule is to work it out atthe Party level, not legislate the schedule "during" an election cycle!

    All they are doing by moving the schedule around is hurting the people of their states. Put your primaries back where they were supposed to be held and argue with your party on the 2012 election cycle's primary schedule!

    Telling it like I see it,

    October 24, 2007 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  11. Bee

    I think Carl should go sit down and fix what is broken in congress. We don't need another democratic leadership to tell NH what to do.

    Michigan is broken because of their failed leadership.

    October 24, 2007 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  12. james, Minneapolis, MN

    Babies I tell ya, they all sound like babies, I cant for the life of me understand why they would use one of the most important elections for the democratic party. They are so stupid.

    October 24, 2007 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  13. Chris, FL

    Just more proof that the government is fixing the upcoming election. We are just going to sit here and watch and let them control us.

    October 24, 2007 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  14. Anonymous

    I think all primaries and caucases should be held on the same day. That way all state are valuable to the primary process.

    October 24, 2007 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  15. Jonathan T., Hoboken, NJ

    I agree with you James 100%. I don't understand for all these years we never hear about the date conflicts on primaries. Why all of a sudden, these rebel states want so much of importance? Why not congress make a law and decide once for all about the election process?

    October 24, 2007 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  16. Mike, Palo Alto, CA

    The front loading of primaries, with most big states playing a game of "me first" has created a defacto national primary ... and a very early one. The result is a deathblow to any semblance of retail politics, and a gift to celebrity candidates with big war chests. The predictable results will be ever more expensive campaigns at an even farther remove from the lay public. TV advertising will become an even greater influence, and the public will be even less informed. Political gamesmanship should not define our presidential elections ... but it does.

    October 24, 2007 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  17. Chris, Middletown, CT

    Liberals...Conservatives....look....we are both agreeing on something...either party shifting the primaries to be "first" is insane.....and they are playing with our money....we are building a forum here in the blogs....first this...next....maybe the SCHIP bill (alright....baby steps...)

    October 24, 2007 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  18. Cory, Pittsburgh, PA

    This is why we absolutely need a round-robin voting schedule with state's in groups. Break each all the state's into 5 groups, each group gets to vote 2 weeks apart, every 5 elections, you vote first. The system we have now provides way too much control in the hands of a select few. It is no way to elect our president

    October 24, 2007 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  19. Karen,nj

    That is exactly why we need to get rid of these senile people. They act just like children. I have never seen such a bunch of loons in my life.

    October 24, 2007 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  20. T, Tampa Florida

    Great. Just what we need. Let's rush one of our country's most important decisions. That's a fantastic idea. Let's make it more about vanity and less about having enough time to make the right decision.

    October 24, 2007 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  21. Travis

    I never understood why New Hampshire, Iowa, Nevada, South Carolina get to go first...

    October 24, 2007 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  22. Dave, Cheverly, MD

    The U.S. Supreme Court should step in and Rule that every state must abide by the dates which they ALL agreed upon earlier this year. That means Michigan and Florida moves back to FEB 5. Sighting that any changes now in the middle of a Primary season would DIS-ENFRANCHISE voters. Then order the States and the DNC, RNC to work it out for the 2012. This should be fast tracked to the courts to be decided in a week. If that cannot be done then are we to think that this election WAS already planned. Until a Guy with Big ears, a funny name and brown skin came along and out raised the chosen one

    October 24, 2007 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  23. Marcus, Detroit, MI

    Moving primaries up again to December?! This is getting out of control...!

    October 24, 2007 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  24. Daniel

    With the news that GOP ers in NH are now livid that the RNC sanctioned them, and that Gardner might move to... December 4th, things are getting MUCH more messy. Check out the latest rundown of where the calendar stands now.

    October 24, 2007 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  25. Dave, Mont Vernon, NH

    It may appear that the Democratic nomination is all sewn up, but that's where New Hampshire's unique roll comes in. We don't care how much money the candidates have. We don't care who is leading in the polls. And we don't really believe them, anyway, and neither should you. Hillary is going to win? I don't know a single voter who supports her - not one. What we do is take our well-earned traditional role seriously. They can put on as many ads as they want, but we look beyond that. We meet as many of the candidates if we want, we listen to them, we ask them questions. We make sure the questions get answered. Why is New Hampshire like this? Maybe it's our 400-member legislature, serving all of a million people. Do the math. And they get paid a whopping hundred dollars a year. So we are surrounded by pols who don't consider themselves bigshots like other states have. We are represented and led by our neighbors - pretty much literally - and we cary this spirit with us when we shop for everything on up to the office of President of the United States. Bring it on, Michigan and everybody else. Just please don't just do it early - do it right.

    October 24, 2007 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
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