Last evening, the Delaware House of Representatives passed House Bill 41, which would consolidate Delaware’s presidential primary, normally held on the fourth Tuesday in April, with Delaware’s primary for all other offices, held on the second Tuesday after the first Monday in September. Both primaries would now be held in April on the date of the presidential primary.
The vote was 36-5. Those voting no were Rich Collins, Andria Bennett, Bill Carson, John Kowalko, and Jeff Spiegelman. Three Democrats and two Republicans. And the Democrats span the ideological spectrum, from hard progressive (Kowalko) to centrist (Bennett) to conservative (Carson).
Two interesting issues regarding this change that I heard yesterday but had not seen reported: First, that this move saves approximately $1 million every four years. Second, that the state is under pressure from the Democratic National Committee to make the change due to the extreme lateness of the primary, and that the DNC was going to reduce our delegates if we did not do this.
Opponents complain that it hamstrings insurgent primary challengers to entrenched incumbents by shortening the time they have which to campaign, but such a complaint is ridiculous. Nothing is preventing a primary challenger from starting his or her campaign earlier in the calendar. The three months lost between late April and early September can be made up on the front of campaign calendar. No, if anyone is hamstrung it is incumbents who will be stuck in session performing their official duties instead of campaigning.