The governor now has legislation on her desk, which she has said she will sign, that moves the date of Michigan's presidential primary forward to January 15, 2008. This would put Michigan into the first group of states (still growing) which are pushing their dates ahead of the February 5 date which the RNC and DNC had tried to put as a "boundary" before which primaries, caucuses, etc. could be held.
When I was at the state Republican Committee meeting last Saturday, I was given a list of reasons titled "10 Reasons that Michigan's Presidential Contest MUST occur before February 5." For the sake of brevity, I will summarize these. On the whole, I think Michigan is better served by an early primary; these reasons help explain such a point of view.
- On February 5, 56% of the Republican delegates to the national convention will be chosen [I assume that was correct at the time this list was printed], including some big states like CA and NY. If Michigan holds its primary later than February 5, the result will either be a foregone conclusion or the candidates may just not bother campaigning here.
- So far, among the "top-tier" GOP candidates, 40% of their fundraising time is spent in Iowa, 25% in NH, 20% in SC, 10% in FL, and 5% in states holding their primary on or after February 5. If Michigan does not go early, candidates will not spend time here.
- Michigan has as many delegates as Iowa and New Hampshire combined.
- In 1988, Michigan was an "early" state. Many people got involved; there was excitement. The last time a Republican presidential candidate won Michigan? 1988. And for the next decade the Republicans virtually ran the state.
- In 2000, candidates spent almost $10 million in Michigan. Our economy needs this influx of spending.
- There are hundreds of campaign staff right now in IA, NH, and SC. Michigan has more delegates than any of them; if Michigan goes early, resources to hire staff, etc. will be spent here.
- If Michigan goes early, the presidential candidates and the eyes of the country will see what our economy looks like and we will see what answers they have to the question of how it can be turned around.
- If Michigan goes early, it is more likely to host a Republican candidate debate.
- If Michigan does not go early, the seven candidates already scheduled to come to the Mackinac Leadership Conference [this is a big-deal, biennial GOP conference which I really, really want to attend, but probably won't, due to fiscal issues] will likely cancel.
- "And the final reason that Michigan must go before February 5: The ONLY major Presidential candidate that wants Michigan to be irrelevant is liberal, pro-choice Rudy Giuliani. The Giuliani strategy is to have all states go on February 5 or later because he wants to run a national campaign that is less dependent on grassroots organizing and relies more on name ID and television advertising. This way he can hide his pro-choice, liberal record and make it difficult for lesser known candidates to expose him."
The final reason, #10, is an exact quote. The other nine are summarized.