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Michigan Primary Scramble Continues


In 2004, Michigan Democrats voted in February. This year, both parties could cast primary ballots in Jan. (AP)

The leaders of Michigan's political parties are in negotiations today to pick a date for their state's presidential primary, a move which could force Iowa to move its primary into December.

Reports over the weekend suggested that Democrats had picked Jan. 15 as the date for their primary, and Republicans quickly said they agreed.

In a posting on the Michigan GOP website, party chair Saulius "Saul" Anuzis said that "Although going on January 15th is not our first choice, we will join with the Democrats and hold our primary on the same day. This puts Michigan front and center in the presidential battle ground."

But Jason Moon, a spokesman for the Michigan Democratic Party said today that Democrats have not agreed to a specific date with their Republican rivals. "The two state party chairs are in negotiations," Moon said. "There is no agreement. I can just tell you that."

To confuse things even more, Liz Boyd, a spokeswoman for Michigan's Democratic Gov. Jennifer Granholm confirmed this morning that Democrats had agreed to an "early presidential primary" during a conference call last Friday."We're not commenting on a date," she said.

There are two bills pending before the Michigan state senate, SB 624 and SB 625, both of which would legislate a date for the state's presidential voting. Bill 624 picks Jan. 29 and Bill 625 picks Feb. 5.

But Michigan sources said either bill is likely to be changed to reflect a consensus once negoatiations have completed. That could happen as early as Wednesday, when the Senate is tentatively scheduled to take action on the bills.

If the two parties pick Jan. 15, they would be leapfrogging over South Carolina, where the Republican Party recently chose to hold their primary on Jan. 19.

By moving to Jan. 15, Michigan would likely force New Hampshire to move to Jan. 8 thanks to a New Hampshire state law requiring parties to hold primaries at least a week before any similar voting in another state.

That could in turn force Iowa into December because of a law there which requires that state's caucus to be held eight days prior to the New Hampshire voting.

--Michael D. Shear

By Washington Post editors  |  August 20, 2007; 1:25 PM ET
Categories:  A_Blog , Primaries  
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