PRESS RELEASE from Michael Stratton
|Contact: Joan Coplan
ACTIVIST CALLS FOR WESTERN
Denver, CO (March 7, 2005)--A veteran Democratic Party activist will
utilize his position on the Presidential Nomination and Scheduling
Commission to advocate for a western regional primary for the 2008
election cycle. The Commission is charged with reevaluating the
Presidential primary and caucus calendar, which many believe gives
disproportionate influence to early states.
Former DNC Chairman Terry McAuliffe appointed Michael Stratton, from
Littleton, Colorado, to the 40-member Commission--which will be
co-chaired by former Labor Secretary Alexis Herman and Congressman
David Price (D-NC). Stratton is a 30-year veteran of Democratic
politics and Presidential campaigns. He served in the Carter and
Clinton Administrations, managed campaigns for Gary Hart, Roy Romer,
Tom Strickland and others. In the 2004 cycle he was chairman of
Ken Salazar's successful U.S. Senate bid.
Stratton says he will lobby fellow commission members to support an
early January or February same day, multi-state presidential primary
for states, including: Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, New
Mexico, Nevada, Utah, and Wyoming.
"The future of the Democratic Party lies out west, because it's home to
some of the fastest growing areas in the country," Stratton said.
"The Democratic Party needs to put western issues and western values
out-front. That means talking about the things that are important
to communities in the Rocky Mountain region--energy, water rights,
"As the system works now, presidential candidates can easily ignore
wester issues. They simply fly-over the Rocky Mountains to get to
the major media markets on the coasts, or visit the early primary
states," Stratton continued. "We generally don't get to hear
their ideas on clean energy technologies, on water management strategy
for the federal government, or on protection of natural resources and
"A regional primary would change the system so that western issues and
values would be front and center," Stratton added. "It would give
voters in Western states more say in the process and a louder voice in
our democracy . It would also give more focus and attention to
the growing Hispanic populations--which are very important to
Democrats--in western states such as Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, and
"I am going to write letters to Western governors, legislators, and
other political influence makers, asking them to take a good look at
the this issue and the benefits it will bring to their states. A
Western Primary would also be good for the GOP, since Western states
have become so competitive," he said.
The eight states Stratton advocates account for 44 electoral votes, or
just under 10 percent of the 538 votes in the Electoral College.
Stratton cited the support of the Western Governors' Association, the
Democrats For the West, and the Western States Democratic Chairs'
Caucus for the regional primary idea. (Se attached statements.)
The Commission--which includes three governors, two U.S. senators, two
members of Congress, and numerous other elected officials and DNC
members--will hold its first meeting on March 12 in Washington,
DC. At the daylong meeting, the schedule for future meetings and
hearings will be determined. The Commission must complete its
work and make recommendations to the DNC by 12/31/05.