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Upper Midwestern States Contemplate Presidential Primary Dates

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As Election 2008 heats up, states across the nation are strategically shuffling their primary and caucus schedules in attempt to become more relevant players in the presidential campaign. Upper Midwestern states are also contemplating changes to their schedules in view of the potential benefits moving up primary voting day would provide—such as increased revenue to the state and gaining the ear of potential nominees.

Iowa, of course, is in no danger of losing its status as the first contest in the nation, although the Hawkeye state did move its caucus date up to the second Monday of January in 2008 (the 14th), one week earlier than in 2004 when it was held on the third Monday of the month (the 19th).

Legislators in South Dakota attempted to move its presidential primary up from June 3rd to February 5th, but the measure was defeated in the state House 35-35 last month. Advocates felt moving the primary date up would increase revenue to the state as well as put South Dakota issues on the agenda of presidential candidates, but opponents remained doubtful those benefits would outweigh the cost of holding an extra statewide election (primary voting is currently held for all district and statewide offices in June).

Wisconsin is slated to hold its primary on the third Tuesday in February (the 19th), just as it did in 2004. The Badger State is the only state scheduled to hold a primary on this day, as it was in 2004 when the state made some headlines as John Edwards came out of nowhere (34 percent) to nearly nip favorite John Kerry (40 percent) at the finish line. While more than one-third of the country will have already held their primaries by the time Wisconsinites vote (including several key states like Florida and California), if the Republican and/or Democratic nominees are still in doubt at that stage, Wisconsin will likely be a key stop on the campaign trail as candidates seek to gain momentum for March 4th when nine states vote (including New York, Texas, and Ohio).

Minnesota held its 2004 primary on the first Tuesday in March, and there have been discussions to move its primary next year to February 19th (like Wisconsin) or as early as February 5th—the Super Tuesday of Election 2008.

Previous post: Turnover in 2008 MN House Party Control Follow-up
Next post: South Dakota Passes Qualified Minimum Wage Increase

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Remains of the Data

No Free Passes: States With 2 Major Party Candidates in Every US House Race

Indiana has now placed candidates from both major parties on the ballot in a nation-best 189 consecutive U.S. House races, with New Hampshire, Minnesota, Idaho, and Montana also north of 100 in a row.

Political Crumbs

Gubernatorial Highs and Lows

Two sitting governors currently hold the record for the highest gubernatorial vote ever received in their respective states by a non-incumbent: Republican Matt Mead of Wyoming (65.7 percent in 2010) and outgoing GOPer Dave Heineman of Nebraska (73.4 percent in 2006). Republican Gary Herbert of Utah had not previously won a gubernatorial contest when he notched a state record 64.1 percent for his first victory in 2010, but was an incumbent at the time after ascending to the position in 2009 after the early departure of Jon Huntsman. Meanwhile, two sitting governors hold the record in their states for the lowest mark ever recorded by a winning gubernatorial candidate (incumbent or otherwise): independent-turned-Democrat Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island (36.1 percent in 2010) and Democrat Terry McAuliffe of Virginia (47.8 percent in 2013).


An Idaho Six Pack

Two-term Idaho Republican Governor Butch Otter only polled at 39 percent in a recent PPP survey of the state's 2014 race - just four points ahead of Democratic businessman A.J. Balukoff. Otter's low numbers reflect his own struggles as a candidate (witness his weak primary win against State Senator Russ Fulcher) combined with the opportunity for disgruntled Idahoans to cast their votes for one of four third party and independent candidates, who collectively received the support of 12 percent of likely voters: Libertarian John Bujak, the Constitution Party's Steve Pankey, and independents Jill Humble and Pro-Life (aka Marvin Richardson). The six candidate options in a gubernatorial race sets an all-time record in the Gem State across the 46 elections conducted since statehood. The previous high water mark of five candidates was reached in seven previous cycles: 1902, 1904, 1908, 1912, 1914, 1966, and 2010.


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