December 4th, 2007
03:00 PM ET
7 years ago

Michigan seeks order to primary chaos

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


Filed under: Michigan
soundoff (11 Responses)
  1. KEITH JAMES LOUTTIT

    It's amazing how quickly the politicos can move to ensure their own jobs, but when it comes to making our streets safer, helping the people get off of welfare, or even keeping our borders secure, like some old lady in the passing lane, they can't get out of their own way!

    Way to go! Kudos to our Elected Officials! Thank you for using OUR Tax Dollars to ensure your won viability!

    note to self: make list of representatives looking to keep their jobs this coming election!

    December 4, 2007 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  2. Michael Sheridan, Grand Rapids, MI

    The idea for having regional primaries on a rotating basis has been around for a while, but this is an interesting new twist:

    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.

    I don't really see many campaign organizations trying to go to every state early in the process – that would take way too much money. But it would certainly be an incentive to hold off campaigning hard until after Labor Day, when you know where your ad buys will get the most bang for the buck. As much as Iowans and Granite Staters love to have a big say on the nomination process, I imagine many get tired of having political ads blasting at them for more than a year, and I wouldn't want to inflict that on other states.

    December 4, 2007 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  3. lou, Houston, Tx

    someone with a plan to end this caos?
    an end to this insanity?
    no?
    really?
    my vote will count?
    please tell me is this true...

    December 4, 2007 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  4. Bob, San Francisco, CA

    Excellent idea. It's high time to end the ridiculous "entitlement" of those 2 itty-bitty unrepresentative states (you know who you are).

    December 4, 2007 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  5. Aaron, Saint Paul, MN

    This is an inefficient and poorly designed plan. It does not take into account that it would be ridiculously expensive for a presidential nominee candidate to actively and meaningfully campaign in all 50 states, until they find out (after Labor Day)where the first primaries are going to be.

    In a political environment where there is already FAR too much money being spent on campaigns, this would only worsen the situation. Not to mention any candidate unable to raise that kind of primary money (ie- every candidate in this election not named Clinton or Obama) would be rendered irrelevant from the beginning.

    And with the need for that kind of money, you can forget about public financing of campaigns.

    The state of Michigan should stop wasting it's time trying to be the most important state in the country. Instead, they should focus on raising the anemic voter turnout in their state.

    Committeewoman Debbie Dingell should know this.

    December 4, 2007 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  6. WJS

    I live in Virginia – outside Washington D.C. no less, and I don't think I've seen ANY of these folks here. The Virginia Primaries might as well be held on the back side of the moon. What we need are rotating order. Each state should be treated equally instead of kissing the collective rears of Iowa and New Hampshire.

    December 4, 2007 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  7. Jimmy

    This is atleast a start to fix a broken system. Not just the primary but the general election needs looking at too. Tfhe Popular Vote really means nothing. This is not right. I support a full fixing, but it is entirely to late for this election, but not the next.

    December 4, 2007 07:17 pm at 7:17 pm |
  8. G Hudson, St. Louis, Missouri

    This is stupid. Let's just make a law that says only people with more than 30 million dollars wealth can run for President.

    I love this country, where only people with more than 30 million dollars in wealth can run for President.

    This idea sucks.

    December 4, 2007 09:05 pm at 9:05 pm |
  9. Tony Tombrillo Jr. Michigan

    I have resolved my own feelings for this issue. I am tired of small states choosing who the rest of will get a chance to vote for. I have been a life long Michigan Democrat.... UNTIL NOW!! The DNC took away our state delegates, then I have decided not to be a Democrat. PS....So has my money that I would have donated to the party and candidates.

    December 4, 2007 09:21 pm at 9:21 pm |
  10. KEITH JAMES LOUTTIT

    Six hours and my former comment is still awaiting approval?

    December 4, 2007 11:00 pm at 11:00 pm |
  11. Eric, Atlanta Ga

    All you guys have complaints about what happened. The solution has been provided and now we need to reach out to our families and friends that are going through this hardship and do not know what has been provided.

    December 6, 2007 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |