States Presidential Caucus/Primary
SPONSOR: Governor Richardson
June 22, 2004
Santa Fe, New Mexico
1. Along with the Federal Election Commission, the major
political parties play a large part in establishing the rules for the
nominating process for the nation’s Presidency. The parties
establish the rules state primaries and party caucuses must follow and
the date window within which primaries and caucuses must be held.
2. The rules of both of the major parties give preferential treatment
to Iowa and New Hampshire allowing them to hold the first Presidential
primary and caucus elections every four years. Other state
primaries and party caucuses follow.
3. In the last four election cycles, more and more states have moved
their primary or caucus dates earlier in an attempt to have an impact
on the candidates that are selected as the parties’ nominees. As a
result, the parties’ nominees are selected early in the date window
allowed by parties. States that hold their caucus or primary later in
the date window have no influence on who the parties’ nominee will be.
4. One of the results of voters feeling like they have no influence in
helping select the parties’ nominees is low voter turnout. Just
17.7 percent of eligible voters turned out during the primary season in
2000. This was an improvement over the 16.9 percent who
participated in 1996, but still the second lowest percentage since 1960.
5. At a Western Governors meeting in February 2004, the Governors
agreed to explore creating a common date for caucuses and primaries for
the Presidential candidate nomination process in 2008. The
Governors felt that more states banding together in 2008 could help
draw attention to western issues including public lands, energy, water,
and tribal issues.
B. GOVERNORS’ POLICY STATEMENT
1. Voters in Western states should have an equal say in who the
party nominees are for President.
2. Western Governors urge the major political parties to examine
reforms to the nominating process rules that will encourage voter
participation and encourage a discussion among the candidates for the
parties’ nomination of issues unique to each region of the country.
3. Western Governors support states and state political parties in the
region examining the idea of a common date for interested states and
parties to hold their primaries and caucuses in order to draw attention
to western issues.
C. GOVERNORS’ MANAGEMENT DIRECTIVE
1. WGA is directed to provide staff support to any group of interested
western states that choose to work together to select a common
caucus/primary date for the 2008 Presidential nominating process.
2. This resolution shall be sent to the national chairmen of major
political parties, the chairmen of the western state political parties
and the western secretaries of state.