Column Date 2007-04-01

New York to hold 2008 Presidential Primary next Tuesday

Albany, N.Y. In the race to have the first political primary in America, New York State announced today that it was moving its 2008 Presidential primary to next Tuesday, April 10th.

This new date guarantees that New York State will have the earliest primary in America.

The fact that this 2008 Presidential Primary will be held before the many candidates have even decided whether or not to run did not concern the politicians in Albany.

“We have more electoral votes than 47 other states,” said one Albany politician, who spoke off the record. “It’s about time all the presidential aspirants recognize where the votes are and stop pandering to those insignificant, little states who happen to hold early primaries.”

While other states are still maneuvering to hold the earliest 2008 primary (California, for example just moved its primary from June, 2008 back to February, 2008), New York has leaped far ahead of the pack.

Next Tuesday’s primary signals a major shift of political power. Since New York’s 31 electoral votes will be pledged to the winning candidates by early next week, smaller states’ primaries will become all but meaningless.

It will become a questionable political exercise, for example, for any candidate to spend time and money campaigning in New Hampshire (4 votes), or Delaware (3 votes) or even Idaho (4 votes).

“It’s about time the presidential candidates are forced to address New York State’s issues,” a spokesperson for the governor said. “We want to hear them talk about middle-income housing and mass transportation. We’re tired of watching them ride around on tractors promising billions of dollars to farmers to grow corn for ethanol.” 

It is not clear how the other major states (California with 55 electoral votes, Texas with 34 and Florida with 27) will respond to this challenge.

Experts in Washington, however, suggest that many of them will act quickly to move their primaries to next Tuesday.

“After all,” said one consultant, “states copy each other all the time as they compete for influence – as well as for advertising dollars.”

When California moved its primary to February 5th, for instance, it joined Arkansas, Delaware, Missouri, Utah and Oklahoma whose primaries are on that same day.

If other states follow New York’s lead, one inside source suggested, candidates might be forced to hire Hollywood doubles to have any hope of appearing in each state before Tuesday rolls around.

“When the dust settles,” claimed an upstate New York State Representative, “everyone will realize that this is really good for democracy in America.”

“The voters will get to see potential presidential candidates -- whoever they might be --  before the handlers and make-up people and pollsters get their hands on them.”

In settling on the early date, state leaders ignored warnings from some lawmakers that it was an unfortunate choice, since April 10th is the date the Titanic set sail from Southampton on her first and final voyage.

Instead, they pointed out that April 10th is also Mandy Moore’s birthday, which younger senate members took as a positive omen.

©2007 Peter Tannen