National Democratic Party Rules Committee Decision on Presidential Calendar

On March 11, the national Democratic Party’s Rules Committee recommended an alteration in the party’s rules, concering the calendar for caucuses to choose a presidential nominee. Current rules do not permit any caucuses or primaries before the Iowa caucus and the New Hampshire primary. The new rule would permit two caucuses before New Hampshire’s primary (but still after Iowa’s caucus). The April meeting of the Democratic National Committee will hear presentations from state Democratic parties that wish to apply for the “early” slots. The Democratic National Committee will then make a final decision of whether to go ahead, and with which two states, in June.

California Congressman Withdrawal Raises Election Law Puzzle

On March 10, Republican Congressman Elton Gallegly of California announced that he has a medical condition that will prevent him from running for re-election. He had already filed to be on the Republican primary ballot, and March 10 was the deadline for candidates to file to run in a primary.

California law says if an incumbent fails to file for re-election, the primary filing deadline is extended 5 days. However, that law doesn’t apply, since Gallegly already did file. California does not permit withdrawals. Prominent California Republicans who live in that district would like to run to replace Gallegly, but it is too late for them to get on the ballot. There may be write-in campaigns in the primary. The California primary is June 6.

Alabama Democrat Barred from Primary Because he was a write-in Candidate 4 years ago

Alabama law lets political parties prevent candidates from running in their primaries, if that party feels the candidate is “disloyal”. Recently, the Alabama Democratic Party prevented Steve Small from running for Jefferson County Commissioner. The reason is that, 4 years ago, Small ran as a write-in candidate for the same post in the general election, in opposition to the Democratic and Republican nominees.

In Alabama, write-in candidates do not file as declared write-in nominees. People who wish to campaign as write-in candidates simply campaign, but they need not file any declaration of candidacy. Therefore, in no sense was Small an “official” candidate 4 years ago. This recent Democratic Party decision shows the tyranny of an election system, like Alabama’s, which prevents people from running in the primary, and also makes ballot access for independent candidates extremely difficult. Alabama and New Mexico are tied for having the strictest ballot access petitions for independent candidates for statewide state office, in the nation (3% of the last vote cast).

Thanks to Ed Still for this news.