South Carolina scoots its primary to Jan. 21, trumps Florida

posted at 4:45 pm on October 3, 2011 by Tina Korbe

Allah speculated this would happen last week, but South Carolina became the first of the four early voting states to officially move its primary ahead of Florida’s contest, which, as of last Friday, is set for Jan. 31. South Carolina GOP Chairman Chad Connelly this morning announced the decision to move the Palmetto State’s primary to Jan. 21.

“Last Friday, a nine-person committee brought chaos to the 2012 calendar,” his statement read. “Today, South Carolina is making things right.”

South Carolina is also forcing Iowa, New Hampshire and Nevada to schedule their primaries even earlier. New Hampshire will be next to decide, as Nevada party rules require the Nevada primary to take place four days after New Hampshire and Iowa state law requires the Iowa caucuses to occur at least eight days before the next contest. New Hampshire’s likely looking at Jan. 3, 10 or 17. If the state selects Jan. 17, Nevada and South Carolina will fall on the same day. But if NH chooses the earliest date — Jan. 3 — that’ll push the Iowa caucuses into December of this year. The Iowa contest likely wouldn’t take place Christmas Day, but still don’t look for the holidays to be a blessed respite from politics. The race will really be heating up about that time.

Allah assessed the impact of these early primaries on additional potential contenders Chris Christie and Sarah Palin — but how will the accelerated schedule affect the crop of candidates we’ve already got? For what it’s worth, Rick Santorum says the new structure will benefit the frontrunners:

Former Sen. Rick Santorum (R., Pa.), whose  long-shot bid relies on support from social conservatives in Iowa and South Carolina, has complained that the earlier contests benefit the field’s front-runners, Rick Perry and Mitt Romney. If voting begins earlier, candidates such as Mr. Santorum have less time to make inroads with voters and raise money, something they have little of compared with Messrs. Perry and Romney.

Wonder whether it might not also allow Michele Bachmann to revive her campaign somewhat. From the very beginning, Bachmann has focused almost exclusively on Iowa, but, lately, her campaign has even sputtered there. She says losing Iowa doesn’t mean she’d exit the race, but, realistically, she has to win the Hawkeye State if she hopes to continue. My thought: Maybe the early-early caucus date will be the motivation she needs to expand her campaign beyond a few key cities in Iowa. Her spokesman Eric Woolson said events will increase in the coming weeks — and, on an upcoming two-day swing, she’ll hit western Iowa, which she hasn’t much covered. If, with those renewed efforts, she does manage to build momentum again, she won’t have to hold on to it for very long before the actual caucuses.

It’s also possible Herman Cain’s current wave of popularity could last just long enough to carry him to a sound finish in an oh-so-early Iowa contest.

In other words, the earlier primaries will just ensure the GOP chooses its candidate from among the already-caught-on contenders sooner, giving the party more time to rally around the nominee. Hate to say it (I actually really like him, as “stressed” as he is!), but even if Florida hadn’t bucked the system, Santorum wasn’t gonna be the It Guy.


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Personally I believe some type of primary where 4 or 5 states from different regions hold them on the same day, with a rotating basis to decide which among the 50 go first for any given presidential election.

rob verdi on October 3, 2011 at 4:48 PM

scoot

I see you are teaching our bi-coastal friends new vocabulary words

faraway on October 3, 2011 at 4:48 PM

They should have a rule that it gets exponentially more costly the further up they move their primaries. If anything, primaries should be moved back at least 6 to 8 months. Only in the US do you have a two year election process. Anywhere else in the world, it’s a month, two tops.

MrX on October 3, 2011 at 4:48 PM

I heard that the Florida primary is for the 2016 race.

MassVictim on October 3, 2011 at 4:49 PM

This is all terrible.

We need more time to chose a nominee, not less.

Labamigo on October 3, 2011 at 4:52 PM

Former Sen. Rick Santorum (R., Pa.), whose long-shot bid relies on support from social conservatives in Iowa and South Carolina, has complained that the earlier contests benefit the field’s front-runners, Rick Perry and Mitt Romney

When isn’t Rick Santorum complaining?

Knucklehead on October 3, 2011 at 4:53 PM

Carrying politics into the holiday season will leave a bad, bad taste in everyone’s mouth.

This is far worse than the FIRST!ers since BBS days.

If the States can’t come to realize that they all can’t be earlybirds, then it is time for the Parties to start scheduling things on their own schedule as private organizations. That would mean closed events to non-party members, but that is a tiny price to pay not to get vitriol from the general public. At this rate the first primary for the next election will be taking place the day after the election… give it another 20 years and that is what you will get.

Some sanity, please. And get politics out of the holidays as it is already bad enough as it is.

ajacksonian on October 3, 2011 at 4:53 PM

So, a couple of folks out there need to poop or get off the pot.

catmman on October 3, 2011 at 4:53 PM

Idiots. This is how Illinois screwed up the governor’s race in 2010.

Fallon on October 3, 2011 at 4:54 PM

I’m getting tired of states declaring they have the right to an earlier primary and that any deviation from that is “chaos” and irresponsible.

You don’t have the right to vote first. No one does.

Modest proposal: Everyone holds their primary on the same day.

amerpundit on October 3, 2011 at 4:54 PM

So, a couple of folks out there need to poop or get off the pot.

catmman on October 3, 2011 at 4:53 PM

Some are already stinking up the place.

faraway on October 3, 2011 at 4:55 PM

They need to strip them of all their delegates and simply cancel the state primary. This is beyond ridiculous.

sharrukin on October 3, 2011 at 4:55 PM

So, a couple of folks out there need to poop or get off the pot.

catmman on October 3, 2011 at 4:53 PM

Christie reportedly is announcing his decision sometime this week. As for Palin, I have a feeling her procrastination coupled with these early primary dates have effectively made her decision for her.

Doughboy on October 3, 2011 at 4:55 PM

Wow. Maybe the BCS can help settle this.

“The Capitol One Iowa Caucus”.

Trusser13 on October 3, 2011 at 4:56 PM

While I don’t like Iowa or NH’s influence in the primary process, this is getting idiotic. We need to pass an amendment to the constitution that says all primaries for president must be held between January and March or February and April of the year of the presidential election. Then, all of the states can jockey to be first and we’ll end up w/ all state’s having their primary on January 1st.

But, the way things are going now, we’ll have the first primary in January of the year proceeding the year in which the election is held.

Monkeytoe on October 3, 2011 at 5:06 PM

First…!

/

Seven Percent Solution on October 3, 2011 at 5:14 PM

There is no good reason for Republicans to be doing this.

Jason Coleman on October 3, 2011 at 5:17 PM

The Heads of all 5 families GOP Party Chairs are making changes the base can’t refuse.

portlandon on October 3, 2011 at 5:25 PM

I’m surprised that CA never cares enough to get into the act. After all, as one of the biggest states, their primary rarely matters for either party as most years the primary is resolved before CA.

Monkeytoe on October 3, 2011 at 5:37 PM

As usual, the GOP acting like a bunch of children waiting for
the ice cream truck! Me first! Me first! Pushing and shoving
to be the first. On second thought, children seldom act like this.

Amjean on October 3, 2011 at 5:38 PM

I’m thinking that going too early means some of these caucuses and primaries are rushing themselves into irrelevance. South Carolina and Florida have the best spots now, anything before that is really pushing it.

As annoying as all this is, hopefully it will flush out the lower tier candidates so we can have more concentrated debates and vetting with a smaller field. Romney, Perry, Cain, Gingrich would be just fine with me.

Daemonocracy on October 3, 2011 at 5:41 PM

For better or worse, if the nomination process had concluded 4 months later last time, Romney would have been the candidate instead of McCain, because the whole financial meltdown occurred very shortly after the nomination. Unfortunately, McCain wasn’t prepared for it at all, where I think Romney could have at least talked a better game.
The circumstances at the time of the nomination bear some resemblance to the election. That won’t be the case with such a long cycle. Additionally, that’s just more time for the media to concentrate fire on out candidate. The only silver lining would be more time to mend fences post nomination and raise money, because there is inevitably going to be the take-my-ball-and-go=home crowd whose candidate doesn’t win the nomination that needs some time to cool off.

Dead Hand Control on October 3, 2011 at 5:50 PM

Palmetto (face) palm?

Chip on October 3, 2011 at 5:50 PM

Ugh. I need to learn some html. Does this work?

Dead Hand Control on October 3, 2011 at 5:51 PM

Daemonocracy on October 3, 2011 at 5:41 PM

+ 10..Very good post!..:)

Dire Straits on October 3, 2011 at 6:07 PM

This all makes me so sick! Hey… just move up the stinking primary to next week why don’t you!
Maybe eventually move them up to 3 weeks after the President is sworn in! That would be great. Certainly help whoever the incumbent was! Someone would probably want to make it 2 weeks after the President was sworn in, then someone else would demand they go before that! Heck, let everyone start voting 5 minutes after the President is sworn in!

Pride and arrogance is going to destroy us.

JellyToast on October 3, 2011 at 6:09 PM

I think they are campaigning too soon already. I’m sick of all of them.

Cindy Munford on October 3, 2011 at 6:13 PM

Let’s just move the 2016 primary to November 7, 2012. Sheesh.

JohnTant on October 3, 2011 at 7:01 PM

Just scootin’? Not even boot-scootin’?

Axe on October 3, 2011 at 7:08 PM

Some sanity, please. And get politics out of the holidays as it is already bad enough as it is.

ajacksonian on October 3, 2011 at 4:53 PM

I agree. These four year campaigns are tiring anyway. This just makes it harder to tune it all out for a while and take a breath (more serious political ramifications notwithstanding).

Axe on October 3, 2011 at 7:23 PM

IA, NH, SC and FL are making themselves irrelevant. they don’t have enough primary electoral votes to choose the winner. The earlier they schedule their contests, the less influence they have on the big state contests that come later. (FL would be important if it hadn’t lost half its EVs. Now it’s not.)

My state is doing a caucus for the first time (in March) to avoid a too-early primary date. Should be fun.

alwaysfiredup on October 3, 2011 at 7:59 PM

Daemonocracy on October 3, 2011 at 5:41 PM

Took the words out of my mouth.

alwaysfiredup on October 3, 2011 at 8:00 PM

Everyone seems in such a hurry up to get to Lets Vote Now because they can’t get the race started soon enough so as to get Obama out of the office… Yet unfortunately the guy still has 1 year,3 months, and a few odd days to go. Here’s to hoping the overall damage can be minimized while he’s still holds office.

wubu on October 3, 2011 at 9:02 PM

I hope they schedule Iowa and New Hampshire for December, right at Christmas time.

If you have to be first, go ahead and be first…

Khun Joe on October 3, 2011 at 10:24 PM

Ugh. I need to learn some html. Does this work?

Dead Hand Control on October 3, 2011 at 5:51 PM

It did not! :)

What are you trying to do?

Axe on October 4, 2011 at 2:59 AM