A mystery: What happened to New York's GOP primary?

A mystery: What happened to New York's GOP primary?

The New York State primaries don’t roll around until April 28th. As usual, that will probably wind up being too late in the calendar to make much of a difference in deciding the eventual Democratic nominee. (Unless, of course, they somehow fail to get anyone up to 2,000 delegates by then.) But what about the other primary? You know… for the Republicans? New York holds closed primaries, so registered Republicans can’t engage in any Operation Chaos activities and mess with the Democrats. That means they’ll have to vote for Donald Trump or one of the quixotic challengers hoping to put a dent in his numbers.

Except this year… they won’t. The reason is that the GOP primary has just disappeared from the calendar and all of the state’s Republicans can just stop worrying about participating. (Politico)

New York will not hold a Republican presidential primary this year, guaranteeing that President Donald Trump will win all of the state’s delegates.

Nobody besides Trump qualified to appear on the ballot, and primaries in New York are held only if multiple candidates qualify.

Three other Republicans submitted paperwork: former Massachusetts Governor William Weld, businessman Rocky De La Fuente, and former Rep. Joe Walsh of Illinois.

The first person I saw commenting on this news on social media was a NeverTrumper claiming that this was another state party trying to prevent any sort of debate over Trump or “tarnish” him by having a challenger draw votes away from the incumbent. But that’s not the case at all.

New York has some odd election laws and I’ve written about its peculiarities before. In this case, state law says that if two or more people don’t qualify to be on the ballot, the party doesn’t have to waste the money to hold an election when the outcome is already assured.

Bill Weld, Rocky De La Fuente and Joe Walsh all filed paperwork to be on the ballot, but none of them qualified. (And Walsh has already withdrawn anyway.) In addition to paying a fee and submitting signatures, in order to appear on the primary ballot, candidates also have to submit a slate of 162 delegates who would represent them if they win. Walsh and De La Fuente didn’t submit the names of any delegates and Weld only submitted half of the required amount. The judge gave him right up until the last possible day to submit the rest of his names, but he never did.

Unfortunately, this could have more of an impact on New York politics than one might guess. That’s because Governor Andrew Cuomo scheduled five special elections for the same day, citing the cost savings from combining them all. One of those special elections will decide who replaces Republican Congressman Chris Collins who is currently packing for an April trip to prison for insider trading. That’s a significantly red district out in Western New York, but without Trump’s name on the primary ballot to drive his supporters to the polls, it could conceivably give the Democrat a chance to win the seat for the remainder of the year.

So in retrospect, it might have been better for Weld to have gotten on the primary ballot, at least from a NY Republican’s point of view. And it wasn’t like Trump was in any danger anyway. His approval among registered Republicans in the state is upwards of 80%.

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