Dec 4, 2007

Dingell-Anuzis push presidential primary plan

If the back-and-forth debate and on-again-off-again Presidential Primary election wasn’t strange enough, it got a little bit more unusual with the announcement Tuesday that Michigan Republican Party Chair Saul Anuzis and Michigan Democratic National Committeewoman Debbie Dingell have collaborated on a bi-partisan presidential primary selection plan they say will put the debate to an end.

Last week the Democratic National Committee voted to strip Michigan Democrats of all its 156 delegates to the national convention for violating party rules by choosing an early primary, and the national GOP said Michigan Republicans would lose half of their delegates at the convention for doing the same thing. The Legislature went back and forth on whether to hold a caucus or an open primary after getting the news of the sanctions.

What is being dubbed the Dingell-Anuzis presidential primary selection plan is patterned after the Levin-Nelson Presidential Reform Bill in Congress. The plan would divide up states into six regions. There would be six sub-regions set up in each region, designating a representative cross section of America. The national parties would then set six distinct dates for when contests would be held. A lottery would determine the dates each designated sub-region could hold a presidential primary or caucus and no one region could be selected to go first for two consecutive presidential cycles, eliminating incentives for states to break the rules.

The original decision to hold the primary on Jan. 15 was to make Michigan more relevant in the presidential selection process instead of always allowing Iowa and New Hampshire – states not representative of the ethnic and racial make up of the rest of the country - to go first. Those two primaries go a long way toward choosing the eventual winner and eliminating under-performing candidates from the race.

“We need to end the monopoly of some states that always enjoy earlier contests while protecting every state’s right to be relevant in the process,” Dingell said in the press release put out the Michigan GOP announcing the plan.

The plan will be sent to both Republican and Democratic national committees for review and consideration for the 2012 cycle.

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