California Republican Party Likely to Conduct Primary in 2014 At its Own Expense

The California Republican Party is holding a state convention in Sacramento March 18-20. According to this news story, the party is likely to begin holding its own primary, at its own expense, beginning in 2014. The party would postally mail a ballot to all registered Republicans, in advance of the June government primary. The results would determine which Republican would be endorsed by the party, and the endorsed Republican candidates would be the beneficiary of party support at the polls in June and November.

The private primary ballot will cost a great deal to administer. However, apparently the party hopes that Republican registrants will respond to the mail ballot, not only with a vote, but with a donation to the party.


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California Republican Party Likely to Conduct Primary in 2014 At its Own Expense — 25 Comments

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  6. The February 2008 presidential primary had 9 million votes, and the June 2008 state primary had 4.5 million votes. You had written that combining the two in 2012 would save an estimated $100 million. If we assume that it costs $100 million per primary (100% efficiency in combining the two), that means that it costs from $11 to $22 per voter for a primary. How is that money allocated to different functions?

  7. That is great news to hear. Glad to hear that they are going to take responsibility for their own nominating process instead of putting it on the back of the citizens of their state.

  8. The way the story reads it sounds like there would still be ballots issued in June for the Republican party. Am I wrong?

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  10. #9 There is still the election of party central committees. The State can not mandate that these officers be elected in public elections, even if they are closed to party registrants, since that in effect is a regulation of the internal activities of the party.

    In the past, the Libertarian party has not elected its central committees at the primary; and other parties might follow. Lots of times, these races are not on the ballot because there are the same number of filers as there are positions open.

    It makes more sense to elect your party officers before the primary, since there will be no party nomination contests on the ballot. Traditionally, the parties do not get involved in primary contests, though individual party members do. But in the Open Primary, candidates from all parties are on the same ballot. So the Republicans may want to formally endorse a candidate, and also direct funding toward that candidate.

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  13. #11, the county elections officials of California are trying to persuade the California legislature to abolish party county central committee elections. So far no legislator has agreed to introduce such a bill. The deadline for new bills to be introduced is passed, but another election law bill might be amended to include that idea.

  14. How many robot spammers messing with this list ???

    How many private national groups manage to survive with ALL mail ballots for electing the group’s officers ???

  15. #9, there would still be a government-printed Republican Party ballot in June 2012, but it would have only presidential candidates and county central committee candidates on it. And that assumes that the legislature does move the presidential primary from February to June and it also assumes the legislature does not abolish county central committee elections.

  16. #14 Can the legislature ignore Article 2, Section 5(c) of the Constitution with regard to party central committees?

  17. This is interesting. Louisiana has used its “open primary” (the Creature from the Bayou) since 1975. When a Louisiana party has endorsed a candidate, it has always been done by the party’s central committee (in at least one major race, the state Republicans supported a different candidate than the national GOP, and neither one made the runoff).

    Since the Bayou State registers voters by party, maybe one or both major parties will take a cue from the California Republicans and conduct a vote-by-mail primary.

    In my view, any party in a “top two” state should require candidates seeking its endorsement//nomination to pledge to support the winner of that nomination. Even if a candidate’s name cannot be removed from the first-round ballot of the “top two,” that candidate can refuse to campaign and can urge people to vote for his party’s nominee.

    It would be absolutely delicious if there were no more than one (active) candidate per party on the first-round ballot of the California “top two.”

  18. #17, that is an excellent question, Jim. I mentioned it to a county elections official and she said she thought the State Constitutional provision you mention would be satisfied if the legislature merely authorized the parties to choose these officers in party meetings. I don’t agree with her. I hate to say it, but state officials and even federal officials are often in the habit of ignoring constitutions.

  19. #8: Instead of paying for party primaries and one general election, California taxpayers will now have to pay for TWO general elections (for state and congressional offices).

    And the taxpayers will continue to pay for presidential primaries.

  20. #18 How many of the 2010 rigged gerrymander districts had a party hack robot winner get more than 66.66 percent of the votes — i.e. win by a mere 33.33 or more percent ???

    — such that a vote for a loser was a TOTAL waste of time and effort ???

    How many party hack robot incumbents in CA are sweating party hack bullets regarding the top 2 primary combined with the coming New Age gerrymander districts — due to the latest New Age gerrymander commission in CA ???

  21. Richard: Please fill us in on the parties’ options for choosing presidential delegates in the three “top two” states– Louisiana, Washington, and California.

    Are California parties required to hold presidential primaries?

    I seem to recall that Washington state parties have the option of holding presidential caucuses instead of a primary.

    And don’t Louisiana parties have the option of NOT holding presidential primaries. If memory serves, when a Louisiana party does hold a presidential primary, it’s a “beauty contest,” with the delegates actually being chosen at later party caucuses.

  22. No party is forced to have a binding presidential primary if it doesn’t want one. The Arizona Democratic and Libertarian Parties jointly filed a lawsuit and won it that they didn’t want the state to hold a presidential primary for them at all. And as long ago as 1972, and again in 1981, the US Supreme Court said that even when states do hold presidential primaries and elect delegates, the national conventions don’t have to seat them if the national party rules don’t recognize those primaries.

  23. Richard: The 1981 ruling is obviously the La Follette decision concerning Wisconsin’s open presidential primaries.

    What are the names of the 1972 ruling and the Arizona case?

  24. #22 The national parties, particularly the Democrats didn’t like the pick-a-party primary in Washington. Washington finally agreed to a system where voters would sign an outer envelope of their mail ballots, so the parties would know who voted in their primary, and then would pull the ballot out and keep it separate.

    The Democrats have still refused to participate and whined about the government waste. It was pretty certain that the Democrats would continue to do the same. So when Washington had to do something about the election of precinct committee officers, after Judge Coughenour’s ruling, they moved those to the presidential primary and required “both” parties to agree to allocate delegates according to the primary.

    If they don’t agree, then no primary is held, and the parties can choose their precinct committee officers any way they want (the political parties will probably claim they won the lawsuit).

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