NH Primary September 14th. This is stupid, right?

Are there other states with insanely late primaries, or is NH special in this regard?

I’m trying to figure out why the parties decided that having the primary six weeks before the general election is a good idea. So far I’m failing. Is there a logical reason for it? It can’t be to save candidates money since they’re campaigning against everyone rather than targeting one foe (not to mention how much money is being spent on ads by people who won’t win the nomination). It feels like TPTB decided it wasn’t a big deal, so they scheduled it as late as possible. That ticks me off because it should be a big deal.

I don’t really expect you to figure out why they did this, but if *your state *decided to make this move for 2012 or 14, what would you think of it?

New York State’s primary this year is also September 14th. By law, it’s on the Second Tuesday in November. In fact, back in 2001, one of the things the terrorist attack disrupted were the New York City mayoral primaries, which were being held that day.

Anyway, the following states/territories have primary races in September this year:

Washington, DC
New Hampshire
New York
Rhode Island
Virgin Islands

That obviously should read, “New York’s primary is, by law, the second Tuesday in September”.

Lots of states have late or “late” primaries by law. Political parties get around it by having nominating conventions to whittle down the field, although those that don’t win the nominating convention aren’t bound by law to not run any more or anything. It’s pretty much done on the honor system so the problems brought up in the original post don’t make too much of a problem.

In some states, like here in Massachusetts, the general election is largely just a formality for the winner of the Democratic primary. Yeah, Scott Brown was an exception, but even then, one of the reasons was that Coakley was running on that assumption, and never figured out that she had to win two elections until it was too late to do much except make a number of desperate, last-minute, gaffe-prone attempts to campaign.

Last election, for example, the Democratic primary for my state senator was contested between the incumbent, Diane Wilkerson, and a challenger, Sonia Chang-Diaz. This was actually a contest, as Wilkerson, though she had her loyal supporters, was severely damaged by a number of scandals over the years. As the state’s only black senator, and a fierce advocate for issues important to many of her constituents, though, there were many willing to overlook her personal foibles. Chang-Diaz won the primary narrowly (and Wilkerson’s career ended in disgrace as footage of her shoving cash bribes in her bra hit the airwaves), and went on to face only token opposition by the Socialist Workers’ Party candidate.

This year’s gubernatorial race is being contested by both major parties, as well as the Green-Rainbow Party and an independent candidate. The candidates have been known for months, despite the fact that the primary hasn’t been held yet. There was a chance that Christy Mihos could have challenged Charlie Baker for the Republican nomination, but he failed to clear the 15% requirement at the party’s convention, and won’t be on the ballot.

So, basically, I’d say that here there’s usually only one of the two elections that really matters, so the timing isn’t all that important.