The Birmingham News and CQPolitics.com have stories on Alabama's presidential primary date. First the Birmingham News: Tentative plans to move Alabama's party primaries to Feb. 2 next year are being reconsidered in light of national party rules discouraging most states from setting them earlier than Feb. 5. ...
The Alabama Legislature had settled on a Feb. 5 primary - a full four months earlier than during the 2004 elections - to try to make the state more relevant in picking the nominees for president. But Feb. 5 started to look unattractive because of the conflict with Mardi Gras and the rush of other states to pick the same date, so party leaders in Alabama recently decided Feb. 2 was a better option. They planned to make the change when the Alabama Legislature went into session in March.
But the Democratic National Committee and the Republican National Committee have rules against most states holding their nominating contests earlier than Feb. 5. To discourage it, the national party organizations say states could lose a portion of their delegate seats at the national nominating conventions, and Democrats additionally could sanction candidates who campaign in states that break the timing rule. -- Plan for early voting may not work
CQPolitics reports: Alabama officials are considering a measure that would move the state’s 2008 presidential primary from its currently scheduled date of Tuesday, Feb. 5 to Saturday, Feb. 2.
This move, if executed, could give the state some stand-alone prominence in the wide-open contests for the major parties’ presidential nominations. But it also would run afoul of the rules set by the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and the Republican National Committee, which bar most states from holding nominating contests before Feb. 5.
Those rules already face a potentially serious challenge from Florida, the nation’s fourth-most populous state, where lawmakers in that state appear poised to enact a measure that would move its primary up before Feb. 5 — even in the face of possible penalties, including the loss of delegates to the national parties’ conventions in late summer 2008. Alabama could face similar sanctions if it opts for the Feb. 2 date.
The exact language of the Florida proposal would peg its primary for one week after the traditional first-in-the-nation New Hampshire primary or for the first Tuesday in February, whichever comes first. The likely effect is that the Florida contest would be slotted for Jan. 29; although New Hampshire officials haven’t yet set their primary date, they are expected to choose Jan. 22, the earliest date allowed to it by DNC rules. -- Alabama Could Turn Primary Front-Loading Into a Crimson Tide