WASHINGTON (CNN) - Stinging from national party-imposed penalties that have sliced Michigan’s Republican delegate count in half, and entirely eliminated its Democratic delegation’s voting power, state leaders of both parties presented a new plan Tuesday to re-organize the chaotic presidential primary system.
Democratic National Committeewoman Debbie Dingell, wife of Rep. John Dingell, D-Michigan, and state Republican Party Chairman Saul Anuzis introduced a joint proposal that builds on several earlier plans already in circulation, including a measure introduced by Rep. Sander Levin, D-Michigan, Sen. Carl Levin, D-Michigan, and Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Florida.
Michigan is among several vote-rich states seeking to end Iowa and New Hampshire’s monopoly as sites of the first presidential vote each cycle.
“A system like this would finally bring sanity to the process,” Anuzis said in a statement. “Our proposal would create a reasonable and fair solution for each state and would end the state leap-frogging that is moving the beginning of the process obscenely early.”
The release of the new plan was deliberately timed, says Michigan Republican Party spokesman Bill Nowling, to coincide with this month’s meetings of both national parties.
Under the proposal, there would be six “regional” primary dates between March and June, which would rotate every four years. The location of the first voting date would be determined by a lottery which would not include the previous cycle’s winner – and would not be held until the Labor Day of the year before the election, 14 months from the final presidential vote.
“Until that point, every campaign has an incentive to campaign in every state,” says Nowling, because no one will know which region will host the first set of primaries. The plan’s creators are hoping to see elements the proposal take effect by 2012.
UPDATE: A spokesman for the Republican National Committee sent CNN a response from Chairman Mike Duncan: "The Republican National Committee will make a recommendation on the 2012 primary process for the 2008 Republican National Convention."
The spokesman would not elaborate on what changes to the current primary system, if any, the party might consider.
– CNN Associate Political Editor Rebecca Sinderbrand