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Moving the Presidential and Party Primaries

There are two Moving the Primary bills, and if both pass as is, as you will soon see, it will create quite a mess.

First, the Senate has passes Senate Bill 149, which will move the 2024 presidential primary for both parties from the fourth Tuesday in April, which is April 23, 2024, to the first Tuesday in April, which is April 2, 2024. The bill passed the Senate unanimoulsy, 20-0-1.

SENATE BILL 149 – MOVING THE PRESIDENTIAL PRIMARY DUE TO PASSOVER IN 2024Currrent Status – Senate Passed 20-0-1. Sent to the House.
House SponsorsSchwartzkopf, Longhurst, Minor-Brown // Ramone, Yearick Senate SponsorsSokola, Lockman, Townsend // Hocker, Pettyjohn
House Yes VotesSenate Yes VotesBrown Hansen Hoffner Huxtable Lockman Mantzavinos McBride Paradee Pinkney Poore Sokola Sturgeon Townsend Walsh // Buckson Hocker Lawson Pettyjohn Richardon Wilson
House No VotesSenate No Votes – None
House Absents or Not VotingSenate Absent or Not VotingGay

Now, this bill, Senate Bill 149, and an earlier version of it, Senate Bill 140, have been out there for months. Someone on Representative Stephanie Bolden’s staff, up to and including Mrs. Bolden herself, should have been aware of it. And yet they, or she, wrote up and filed a bill last week, House Bill 215, that moves the state’s party primaries to the last Tuesday in April (April 23, 2024 next year) from the second Tuesday in September, saying in the bill that this date is the same day as the presidential primaries in presidential election years.

But if Senate Bill 149 passes, and it looks like it will, then the presidential primary will not be on the fourth day of April anymore. If both bills pass, we are looking at a situation in 2024 where we will have two primary elections four weeks apart in April.

I am not against moving the state party primaries to April from September and I do not view it as some sort of incumbent protection racket like others do. In fact, I think it will force challengers to begin campaigning earlier, which they should be doing any way but don’t because the late primary date in September gives them a false sense of security that there is plenty of time to campaign.

I am just against have two primary elections four weeks apart. That seems stupid and costly.

House Bill 215MOVING THE PRIMARY ELECTION DATE TO LATE APRILCurrrent Status – House Administration 6/8/23
House SponsorsBolden, Longhurst, Minor-Brown, Schwartzkopf, Dorsey Walker, Griffith, Johnson, Moore // Hilovsky, Ramone, Short, YearickSenate SponsorsPettyjohn // Sokola, Townsend
House Yes VotesSenate Yes Votes
House No VotesSenate No Votes
House Absents or Not VotingSenate Absent or Not Voting

Delaware politics from a liberal, progressive and Democratic perspective. Keep Delaware Blue.

3 comments on “Moving the Presidential and Party Primaries

  1. John Kowalko

    It’s a flat out incumbent protection plan. I’ve opposed and voted against such abuse of power and privilege every chance I’ve had. Try being a little known person knocking on doors during the day (daylight) to spread your issue message when everybody’s at work. Try going out in 25-30 degree weather to spread your message while that lazy-ass incumbent is sitting in Dover getting his/her picture taken for the newspaper because he/she passed a special license plate bill for Left-Handed Goat-herders. Good luck newbies, the nesting trolls in Leg Hall got your backs. They’ll mark them with those lobbyist issued gift knives. Finally turning me on to term limits.
    Former Rep. John Kowalko

  2. cassandram

    SB149 reads as a one time change of primary to me — it has an expiration of May 1, 2024, which is after the primary is concluded. Again, this is meant to avoid a Presidential Primary being conducted during 2024 Passover.

    SB215 is the more permanent change, with additional detail on filing dates, withdrawal dates, etc.

    That said, I’m for earlier primaries. Claiming that earlier primaries is an incumbent protection plan is utterly detached from reality. Almost every “insurgent” campaign started the summer before Primary Day. Sometimes earlier. I’m already hearing from potential candidates who are organizing their teams and strategies now. And the best of these newbies don’t stop in the winter. Claiming that an earlier date is somehow a better deal for an incumbent just plays to the folks who think that challengers are basically lazy and it is hard to look at the group of Democrats who have been winning new seats over the past few years as lacking in serious work ethic.

  3. I ran a Newark City Council race (admittedly smaller than State Rep/Senate et. al.) And we knocked doors in the rain, sleet, and snow (back when we still got snow) and it sucked and we won. Moving the primary benefits more than the candidates who are already hitting the ground early, but it frees up money that is otherwise expended in Sept. with no chance to breathe and raise money. (PAC money, individual money, etc.)

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