Beltway Happenings   ...
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. 

Copyright © 2007  Eric M. Appleman/Democracy in Action