Congressman Tom Cole (R-Oklahoma) has introduced HR 412. It abolishes public funding for presidential campaigns. So far it doesn’t have any co-sponsors. The public funding program has been in place starting in 1976. Minor party and independent presidential candidates who have received primary season matching funds and/or general election funding include John B. Anderson, Sonia Johnson, Lenora Fulani, John Hagelin, Ross Perot, Pat Buchanan, Ralph Nader, Gary Johnson, and Jill Stein. The FEC has always permitted primary season matching funds to be used to pay the expenses of ballot access petitioning. Thanks to Rick Hasen for the news about the bill.
On March 3, Burlington, Vermont, held its election for city office. The Democratic nominee for Mayor was re-elected, defeating the Progressive Party nominee, the Libertarian nominee, and an independent candidate. The new city council has 4 Democrats, 4 Progressives, 3 independents, and one Republican. See this story.
On February 26, the Montana House passed HB 454 by a vote of 53-46. Current law requires qualified parties to choose precinct committee members in a government-administered primary. The bill says parties may continue to do that, but they are also free to appoint such party officers per party rules. Or, they can elect them in primaries they adminster themselves.
Apparently, the purpose of the bill is to moot the lawsuit pending in the Ninth Circuit over the constitutionality of forcing parties to choose party officers in a primary at which any voter is free to participate, whether they are Republicans or members of another party or independents. Thanks to Mike Fellows for this news.
News Story on Byzantine Methods Used to Cause Republicans Not to File in Special California State Senate Race
This Antioch Herald story describes how three Republican candidates for State Senate in the upcoming California State Senate 7 special election were tricked into not filing for office. Business interests supporting one particular Democrat were keen to prevent any Republican from filing, because they believed that with no Republican in the race, the Republican voters would be likely to vote for one particular Democrat.
In the end, one Republican is on the ballot, but she has asked voters not to vote for her.
On February 24 the Virginia House Appropriations Committee killed SB 742. That bill would have provided for general election runoffs, for statewide office other than President, when no one got as much as 50% in November. The committee didn’t vote it down; it merely failed to act on the bill by the deadline. It had passed the Senate on February 9.
On March 3, the Oklahoma Senate passed SB 233. It moves the presidential primary from the first Tuesday in March to the fourth Tuesday in March. Oklahoma’s presidential primary is separate from its primary for other office, and this change has no impact on petition deadlines for newly-qualifying parties or independent candidates.
Oklahoma has never held a presidential primary for any party other than the Democratic or Republican Parties. If this bill is signed into law, and if a newly-qualifying party is able to get on the ballot in 2016, if that group’s petition is submitted early enough, it would qualify for its own presidential primary.
Many states will be holding presidential primaries on March 1 in 2016. Oklahoma legislators believe that if the Oklahoma presidential primary is on that same day, chances are Oklahoma won’t get much attention. But the Oklahoma primary will get attention if it is the only state, or perhaps one of only two or three states, holding a March 29 primary. Thanks to E. Zachary Knight for news about the bill.