primary

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How would things change if, instead of the political system we have now, we moved to a "top-two" primary? In other words, one primary in which the top two candidates, regardless of party, move on to the general election.

Paul deLespinasse is a professor emeritus of political science at Adrian College, and believes a big reason for gridlock in Congress and state legislatures in this country is our primary system. 

Today is primary election day, and if you haven’t voted yet, I wish you would, even if there is only one race you care about.

Most of us won’t vote. Bill Ballenger, who has been closely watching politics in this state for half a century, predicts that less than one-fifth of Michigan’s registered voters are going to vote today.

Sadly, I don’t think he is wrong. That bothers me for a lot of reasons, one of which is that when I was twelve years old, three college students were tortured and murdered in Mississippi for trying to register people to vote.

L. Brooks Patterson
L. Brooks Patterson / Facebook.com

PONTIAC, Mich. (AP) - Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson wants political parties use a lottery to winnow the number of candidates running to serve the last two months of former U.S. Rep. Thaddeus McCotter's term.

If only one Democrat and one Republican run, an expensive Sept. 5 special primary election could be avoided.

Democrats have only one candidate, Dave Curson of Belleville. But five Republicans have filed to run: Kerry Bentivolio of Milford, Nancy Cassis of Novi and Livonia residents Steve King, Kenneth Crider and Carolyn Kavanagh.

Holding the 11th District special primary election could cost local governments in Oakland and Wayne counties $650,000.

Oakland County's Daily Tribune reported on the County Executive's statement earlier today:

“This is about fiscal responsibility... If there is only one candidate from each party running, there is no need to spend tens of thousands of taxpayer dollars on a special primary election.

“It’s ridiculous to spend that amount of taxpayer dollars on a special primary election for just a couple weeks in office.”

McCotter unexpectedly resigned on July 6.

Cle0patra / Flickr

The Michigan Republican Party State Committee will decide this weekend whether to hold a “closed” primary or caucus to choose the state’s Republican nominee for the 2012 presidential election. Last month, the party’s policy committee recommended a “closed” primary. From the Detroit News:

Many Republicans from the party's conservative tea party wing, who support candidates such as Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota or Rep. Ron Paul of Texas, prefer a caucus — based on party meetings at the precinct level — to determine the presidential delegates and believe a primary favors frontrunner Mitt Romney, who appeals to a broader political spectrum.

But the prospect of holding a handful of recall elections for GOP and Democratic state lawmakers at the same time as a presidential primary expected to draw far more Republicans than Democrats is a recent development that's making the primary more attractive…

Still, the primary — paid for by taxpayers at an estimated cost of $10 million — will be "closed" in name only. Nothing would stop Democrats from requesting a Republican ballot and meddling in the GOP presidential selection process. That meddling could be significant if an effort to recall Republican Gov. Rick Snyder makes it to the Feb. 28 ballot.

And, as Political Analyst Jack Lessenberry notes, the state knows a thing or two about so-called meddling in presidential primaries. “There would be the chance that Democrats and independents might show up in Michigan’s GOP primary, “ Lessenberry explains. “That happened in the year two thousand, when they helped John McCain give George W. Bush a whipping. If you have any kind of primary, stuff like that is pretty hard to prevent, since we have no party registration in Michigan. A Democrat can vote Republican or vice-versa, with no penalty. The alternative is some kind of closed convention, or caucus, but that limits public participation, which also could hurt the GOP, since primary campaigns help introduce the candidates to the voters.”

Cle0patra / Flickr

Michigan Republicans may try to boost their clout by holding a closed-party presidential primary a week before the Super Tuesday elections next year. The plan must still be formally approved by GOP leaders in August.

Michigan Republicans plan to hold their presidential primary either February 28th or March 6th of next year. Only people who declare themselves Republicans would be eligible to vote in it.

The state GOP's policy committee unanimously adopted the plan during a conference call.

Michigan Republicans risk losing half their national convention delegates if they hold a primary before Super Tuesday voting on March 6th, but some GOP leaders say the state could reap political rewards by going early.

The proposal must still be approved by the Michigan Republican State Central Committee at its August meeting, and then adopted by the Legislature and approved by Governor Rick Snyder.

Michigan Democrats plan to hold closed-party caucuses in May. President Barack Obama is expected to be the only contender for the Democratic nomination.

Cle0patra / Flickr

Republicans in the state are debating whether they'll use a primary or caucus system to choose their GOP candidate for  the 2012 presidential election, the Associated Press reports. From the AP:

The state GOP's Policy Committee plans to recommend its choice next week. The full GOP state committee is scheduled to make a final decision in mid-August.

Republican National Committee member Saul Anuzis says he thinks a primary would encourage the largest voter turnout and most visits by the candidates.

Others want a caucus, saying it will keep Democrats from interfering and give grass-roots activists more clout.

The primary is scheduled by law for next Feb. 28, but lawmakers could change the date. Michigan held its 2008 presidential primary in mid-January.

Michigan Democrats plan to choose their favorite at a May 5 caucus since President Barack Obama is the near-certain nominee.

The Associated Press is reporting that Michigan Rep. Thaddeus McCotter will announce his candidacy in the Republican presidential primary on Saturday.

From the article:

The congressman from the Detroit suburb of Livonia confirmed Friday on WJR-AM he'll make a formal announcement about his candidacy on Saturday.

The 45-year-old McCotter is a lawyer and served as a state senator, Wayne County commissioner and Schoolcraft Community College trustee before entering the U.S. House in 2003.

Primary Problem

Mar 4, 2011

If you haven’t been traumatized enough by this seemingly endless winter and the governor’s budget proposals, I’ve got something that may really give you nightmares.

It’s presidential election time again. Now, you may be saying wait a minute. Wasn’t the last congressional election only four months ago? Well, yes. But the presidential election is next year, and the candidates are already out campaigning, though none of them are calling it that. I am aware that people who don’t know each other yet will meet, fall in love, and have babies before we finally get around to voting a year from November.

But presidents have a far longer gestation period. And one sure sign that the election season is on is that the leaders of our two great political parties are once again attempting to screw up the Michigan primary.

They’ve gotten pretty good at this, and last time, the Democrats managed to make themselves the laughingstock of the nation, by holding a primary that was both ruled illegal and invalid and which did not have a guy named Barack Obama on the ballot. 

Early indications are that they’ve learned nothing from their mistakes. Here’s the problem. For many years, the election calendar has worked like this. Iowa goes first, with a set of caucuses which pick that state’s delegates in January. Then, New Hampshire follows with the nation’s first primary election.

Then a couple other small states follow in February, and after that, the other states can do whatever they want. This is a good system, because it allows candidates without much money to be seen and tested in small states where you don’t need millions.

Iowa and New Hampshire are also now swing states that switch sides frequently in November. But Michigan party leaders are jealous. They want to go first. Last time they broke party rules and held a January primary which was a farce.