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Wednesday, July 06, 2005

2008: Western Democratic Primary

Posted by Bob Brigham

Our friends at Western Democrat have spent a good deal of blog-inches talking about a potential 2008 Western Democratic Primary. In the late 90's, there was a similiar push geared towards the 2000 election (since it would be an open seat), but it flopped. Eight years later, we are in a similiar situation, yet further away from the goal. That needs to change, people need to get the job done. Now that Dan Kemmis is writing about this in the western papers, hopefully it will get some traction. From David Sirota:

Few argue that the Democratic Party needs a shakeup - and former Montana House Speaker Dan Kemmis says there's no better idea than staging a Western Democratic presidential primary in 2008. It's time for some of the states in this region to play a pivotal role in shaping the party, and being a critical part of the presidential primary is just the trick.

Kari Chrisholm reminds us of the score:

Since 1960, the convention has been in California twice (SF 1984, LA 2000) but otherwise never west of Chicago.

Kemmis in the Denver Post:

The Democratic National Committee has created a commission to see if changes in the primary calendar can help Democrats choose presidential candidates with greater nationwide appeal. At a meeting in Chicago in May, the commission heard three proposals to accomplish that, all involving the regional clustering of primaries.

The most compelling of these proposals came from a group called Democrats for the West. They backed a plan that had been endorsed last year by the bipartisan Western Governors' Association, calling for a simultaneous primary or caucus in the eight Mountain West states of Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming.

Kemmis has quite a case:

Partisan motivations will naturally be at work in all of this. Western Democrats believe a Western primary could help generate some electoral votes in the region. As Rep. Mark Udall, D-Colo., wrote to the Democratic National Committee's commission, "In presidential elections, we are often viewed by party leaders, national political pundits and other national 'experts' as a 'Republican Red Sea' impossible to cross, like a great desert more to be endured than embraced."

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., set the record straight, reminding the commission that "Democrats can win in Western states as evidenced by the recent ballot victories in Montana, Colorado and Nevada." Jerry Brady, an announced Democratic candidate for governor of Idaho, told the commission, "Our request for an early, regionwide primary and caucus season is ... based on the conviction that the time is right to capitalize on rapid gains already made."

Indeed, the timing is perfect. Sirota reminds us of the challenge and the benefits:

Sure, this will threaten the consulting class in Washington that has made a career out of running the same tired campaigns in the same primary states. And sure, it might make the usual suspects who are mentioned as candidates in 2008 nervous - but that's the point. It's time for some new blood, and for some other states to make their mark on the Democratic Party.

Posted at 10:18 AM in 2008 President - Democrats | Technorati