|July 31, 2007--Sens. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and
Joe Lieberman (I-CT) announced tri-partisan legislation to create a regional
presidential primary system. Many states have pushed their primaries
and caucuses earlier than ever in an attempt to have a greater say in the
selection of the nominees, and the result in 2008 will be a crush of contests
on February 5. Sen. Alexander said, "If professional football were
presidential politics, SportsCenter would pick the Super Bowl teams after
two pre-season games."
Sen. Klobuchar's bill, which would take effect in 2012, is based on
the rotating regional primary plan advocated by the National Association
of Secretaries of State. The country would be divided into four regions.
The states in one region would hold their primaries or caucuses on the
first Tuesday at the beginning of March, and the other regions would follow
on the first Tuesdays in April, May and June. In the next election
cycle the order of the regions would rotate. Iowa and New Hampshire
would keep their traditional first-in-the nation position (although Sen.
Lieberman said that he disagreed on this point). Sen. Lieberman noted
that he has introduced similar legislation twice before, in 1996 and 1999
with then Sen. Slade Gorton (R-WA), but he said he felt this could be the
right time to make a change.