On April 28, the Vermont Senate virtually passed SB 48, by voting to advance it to third reading. It asks the Secretary of State to explain how she would implement Instant-Runoff Voting, were it to be implemented. It is not clear that there is enough time left in the session for the bill to pass the House.
On April 29, Rasmussen Polls released a Pennsylvania gubernatorial poll, showing incumbent Democratic Governor Ed Rendell at 40%, Lynn Swann (Republican nominee, former football star) at 36%, independent Russ Diamond at 16%.
On April 29, the New York Libertarian Party nominated William Weld for Governor. Weld is a registered Republican. He had sought the Libertarian nomination. If he gets the Republican nomination as well, this will be the first time the Republican and Libertarian Parties have jointly run a nominee for any statewide office in any state. However, the fight for the Republican nomination is tough to predict, and may not be settled until the September primary.
Weld promises that he will not withdraw as the Libertarian nominee, even if he fails to get the Republican nomination.
On April 27, Alabama’s HB 51 was signed into law, moving Alabama’s presidential primary from the first week in June, to the first week in February.
On April 28, New Hampshire’s HB 1125 was signed into law. Although New Hampshire already has had the nation’s earliest presidential primary of any state, the new law gives the Secretary of State power to set any date for the presidential primary, and also power to set any qualifying period for candidates in that primary. New Hampshire feels it needs to give its Secretary of State this authority, to defend its “first” primary status.
The Ohio petition deadline (for independent candidates other than presidential candidates) has been attacked in a cert petition filed in the US Supreme Court several months ago (Lawrence v Blackwell). Attorneys for the state have now asked for a 2nd extension of time in which to file a response. The Court already granted them 30 days extension. It is somewhat unusual for a state to ask for multiple extensions, and the Court may or may not grant still more time.
Idaho’s largest newspaper, the Idaho Statesman (published in Boise), has a long-standing policy of refusing to mention minor party and independent candidates running for Idaho office during the primary season. Idaho’s primary is May 23 this year.
The United Party has a very active campaign for U.S. House. Its nominee, Andy Hedden-Nicely, a former newspaper publisher himself, has organized a boycott of the Statesman until it revises its policy. The Idaho United Party, a new party, has ballot status in Idaho because it merged with the ballot-qualified but otherwise defunct Natural Law Party of Idaho. The original officers of the Natural Law Party support Hedden-Nicely and have asked the Idaho Secretary of State to let the party change its name to the United Party; that decision is pending.