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Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Western Primary: February 5th

This just in…

Utah and New Mexico will pursue a Presidential Preference Primary on February 5th, 2008. Arizona already holds their primary on that day. Other states in the Intermountain West are actively discussing joining the coalition.

Utah State Democratic Party Chair Wayne Holland, and Republican Party Chair Joe Cannon will now take the initiative to their respective party central committees.

The parties need to decide if they will make the results of this primary binding upon their delegates. As you probably know, the state provides the platform (time, place, voting equipment, vote count resources, etc.) for presidential primaries, but it is up to the parties to choose if they will participate.

The legislature will also have to approve the new date.

We sincerely appreciate the leadership and teamwork of Governors Huntsman and Richardson on this issue.

Why a Western Primary?


Anonymous The Senate Site said...

This AP Story starts to answer questions such as "Will other western states join Utah, Arizona and New Mexico?"

Governors of Utah, New Mexico advocate Western primary in 2008

By Barry Massey, Associated Press Writer
October 12, 2005

SANTA FE, N.M. --The governors of New Mexico and Utah will try to recruit other Rocky Mountain and Western states to hold presidential preference contests early in the 2008 presidential campaign.

New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, a Democrat, joined with Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman, a Republican, on Tuesday in calling for a Western regional presidential primary or caucuses on the first Tuesday in February 2008.

If enough Western states hold early contests, they say, it will increase the fast-growing region's clout in picking presidential nominees.

"For too long, the West has been a flyover region and Western issues have not been emphasized," Richardson said at a news conference with Huntsman. "We had little or no impact and our issues were easily ignored. If we're successful in putting together several Western states, then that will change."

Huntsman was accompanied in his trip to New Mexico by Republican and Democratic legislative leaders from Utah as well as the chairmen of the state's Democratic and GOP parties.

He and Richardson expressed confidence that at least three states -- New Mexico, Arizona and Utah -- will hold their presidential contests in early February 2008.

"That to my mind is critical mass," Huntsman said. "That's enough to do it outright. But if we can add to that another two or three, that would be icing on the cake."

New Mexico Democrats held a presidential caucus on Feb. 3, 2004, the same date Arizona had its primary.

Leaders of other Western states expressed interest.

Nevada Gov. Kenny Guinn, a Republican, said Tuesday that he supported a Western presidential primary and would recommend that his successor ask legislators in 2007 to approve the proposal.

Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer "is generally supportive of any measure that would bring attention to the issues of the West," said Sarah Elliott, a spokeswoman for the Democratic governor. "However, so far the Montana Legislature has not approved the idea or the necessary funding."

The Montana Legislature rejected a proposal earlier this year that would have moved the state's presidential primaries from June to February or March.

Colorado Gov. Bill Owens, a Republican, "likes the idea of a regional primary and he looks forward to seeing what the governors propose," said his spokesman, Mark Salley.

A Western presidential primary isn't a new idea. Former Utah Gov. Mike Leavitt tried to get more than a half dozen states to hold a regional primary in 2000, but New Mexico and others didn't go along with the proposal. Utah and Colorado held primaries on March 10, 2000, and Wyoming held party caucuses.

Huntsman said March was too late, and that's why he and Richardson are pushing for early February in 2008 -- after the Iowa caucuses and New Hampshire primary in January that traditionally start the presidential campaign season.

A Western primary could be a political plus for Richardson, who is viewed nationally as a potential presidential candidate in 2008. He's running for re-election next year and Richardson maintains he's focused on winning another four-year term.

Utah GOP Chairman Joe Cannon said Richardson's future was not an issue.

"If this benefits him, that's terrific," Cannon said. "Utah is not in this because of a particular candidate. This is something that will happen in 2008, 2012, 2016. We have no idea who the candidates are. This is about the economic, political strength of this region."


AP writers Brendan Riley in Carson City, Sarah Cooke in Helena and Steve Paulson in Denver contributed to this report.

10/13/2005 10:38 AM  

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