Earlier GOP primary in N.C. shifts importance for presidential candidates

July 27, 2015 in News by RBN Staff

“With a recent agreement to move North Carolina’s presidential primary to March, North Carolina will play a pivotal role in the selection of the Republican nominee.”

– Todd Poole, Exec. Dir., N.C. Republican Party

Don’t forget: he who counts the votes …


Source: Winston-Salem Journal
Posted: Saturday, July 25, 2015 7:25 pm

Posted: Saturday, July 25, 2015 7:25 pm

For every $1 received by Democratic presidential candidates from North Carolina donors through June 30, Republican presidential candidates have received $3, according to the Federal Election Commission.

Take the Journal poll: Are you paying attention to the presidential primaries yet?

One reason for the gap may be that the GOP field is much larger than the Democratic field. Ahead of the 2016 primary elections, 18 GOP candidates are competing for their party’s nomination. Another reason, party officials said last week, is that North Carolina is about to shed its ho-hum profile in the pecking order of primary states.

“With a recent agreement to move North Carolina’s presidential primary to March, North Carolina will play a pivotal role in the selection of the Republican nominee,” said Todd Poole, the executive director of the N.C. Republican Party.

North Carolina could become a key state by setting its primary date to March 15. Legislation – known as House Bill 373, or the 2016 Presidential Primary bill – would do just that. Last week, the state Senate passed the bill and sent it back to the House for concurrence.

“We haven’t had a meaningful Republican presidential primary in North Carolina since Ronald Reagan’s victory in 1976,” Poole said.

For Democrats in Forsyth County, the proposed presidential primary date is a “smoke-and-mirrors” move by state Republican lawmakers to breed confusion and disenfranchise voters, said Eric Ellison, the chairman of the Forsyth County Democratic Party. The presidential primary would be a standalone, which means that non-presidential primaries would be held on other dates.

“How many primaries are we going to have?” Ellison said.

GOP rules change prompts legislation

The 2016 Presidential Primary bill works hand-in-hand with rules set by the Republican National Committee last year governing the selection process of the party’s presidential nominee.

In 2014, the RNC approved selection rules that govern how each state’s delegates are portioned out from the primaries. Under one of the changes, states holding their primaries between March 1 and March 14 will have their delegates doled out proportionately with election results, a change that will likely stymie a movement candidate.

States that have primaries on or after March 15 will be winner-take-all states.

That’s important because another RNC rule change requires that a candidate must win a majority of delegates in eight or more states before his or her name may be presented for nomination at the 2016 Republican National Convention.

With 18 GOP presidential candidates, for now, it will be that much harder for any candidate to win a majority in any state, let alone eight.

As a result under the new RNC rules, North Carolina’s pending March 15 primary date and the state’s subsequent status as a winner-take-all state will make it an important stop on the campaign trail for GOP presidential candidates, party officials said.

“I am happy the primary has been moved up so the state has more of a say in the primary,” said Mark Baker, the chairman of the Forsyth County Republican Party.

“I think we will see more presidential candidates visit the state. I think with no clear frontrunner, North Carolina will still be important,” Baker said.

Candidates will value N.C.

Already, Dr. Ben Carson, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker have visited the state – as attendees of the NC GOP convention last month.

Among the GOP candidates, Carson, Bush and Cruz are the top fundraisers in both North Carolina and the U.S.

Carson has raised the most money in North Carolina — $156,117.

He’s followed by Bush, who has raised $138,300, and Cruz, who has raised $104,108, according to the FEC.

In the U.S., Cruz has raised the most, picking up $14.3 million through June 30. He’s followed by Bush, who has gotten $11.4 million, and Carson, with $10.6 million.

Of the $871,792 that GOP and Democratic presidential candidates received from North Carolina donors through June 30, $633,174 went to Republicans, according to the latest FEC data.

But Hillary Clinton, the former secretary of state, has raised the single largest amount of money in both North Carolina and the U.S.

Among Democratic candidates receiving money from North Carolina donors, Clinton has received $198,134, followed by U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, who has gotten $36,784, and former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley, with $3,700.

In the U.S., Clinton has received $47.1 million – more than three times the amount raised by Cruz.

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