Mass. Primary Moves Forward
Massachusetts may have an enviable record for producing presidential candidates -- think Mike Dukakis, John Kerry and Mitt Romney -- but this year's March 4 primary date made the state all but certain to be irrelevant.
That's why Gov. Deval L. Patrick (D) today signed a bill into law moving the state's primary to Feb. 5, joining more than 20 states which are holding presidential voting that day.
The idea, according to lawmakers who quickly passed the measure, is to make sure the state's voters play a role in selecting the presidential nominees. The thinking is that candidates will be obliged to campaign in the state as part of the nationwide primary day.
But the history of such efforts to game the calendar suggests they don't always work out as expected. The state's former governor, Republican Mitt Romney, may indeed be forced to spend time in the Bay State to avoid losing there. But the other Republican candidates will simply stay away, conceding the state to its favorite son.
In a statement on the primary date change, Romney said: "I welcome Massachusetts' decision to move the primary to February 5th. With our already strong base of support in the state, I look forward to campaigning in the state and once again engaging the people of Massachusetts in a dialogue about our future."
On the Democratic side, none of the candidates has a particular advantage in Massachusetts, so they may look elsewhere for victories on that super Tuesday, leaving the state's voters largely ignored anyway.
--Michael D. Shear
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