Rotating Primaries

Posted July 31, 2007 at 6:48pm

A tripartisan group of Senators proposed legislation this week that would dramatically alter the presidential primary system, replacing the current front-loaded method with a rotating regional plan. [IMGCAP(1)]

Sens. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and Joe Lieberman (ID-Conn.) have introduced the Regional Presidential Primary and Caucus Act in an effort to fix what they say is a broken process for selecting White House nominees.

The legislation would take effect in 2012 and establish a rotating schedule of regional primaries and caucuses. The four regions — West, Midwest, South and East — would take turns hosting the first group of primaries and caucuses, which would occur on the first Tuesday in March, April, May and June. Each region would vote in a different month.

The bill would not affect Iowa and New Hampshire, which would be allowed to keep their respective first-in-the-nation caucuses and primaries.

Alexander called the recent rush by states to move their 2008 primary up to Feb. 5 “a one-day traffic jam” when at least 18 states will hold their nominating contests.

“Primaries were not intended to be an arms race,” Klobuchar said in a statement. “We seek to give order to this chaotic, messy and unrepresentative process. This schedule gives power and influence back to the voters in every state.”

— Lauren W. Whittington