by Barry Smith
RALEIGH – The state Senate’s recent vote to move North Carolina’s presidential preference primary to March 15, 2016, means the state won’t be one of the early-tier decision-makers. But with the winner-take-all format established in House Bill 373, North Carolina should grab the attention of presidential contenders.
“Now with a winner-take-all, North Carolina is going to be a big prize,” said Andy Taylor, professor of political science at N.C. State University. “A lot will depend on the status of the race at the time, who’s still in, and the winnowing effect of states before us.”
“If there is a real contest going on, winning North Carolina could be a big boost,” said Chalmers Brumbaugh, political science professor at Elon University.
Traditionally, North Carolina’s presidential preference primary has been held in early May, along with primaries for statewide and local offices. The May date, in most instances, meant that the major party nominees had pretty sown up their nominations by the time the state’s voters cast their ballots.
Two years ago, lawmakers decided to decouple the presidential preference primary from the remaining primaries and place it soon after South Carolina’s presidential preference primary, making it one of the earliest in the nation.
However, that front-loaded date ran afoul of Republican and Democratic party rules. The likely result of keeping a February date would have been penalties from the parties greatly reducing the number of delegates North Carolina could send to the presidential nominating conventions.
The March 15 date allows North Carolina to have a winner-take-all primary and still comply with national GOP convention rules. In the past, the state’s delegates have been awarded proportionately. If the candidate receiving the most support from North Carolina voters withdraws from the race before the nominating convention, then all the delegates will be released from their commitment and they can vote for any candidate.
While final primary and caucus dates aren’t yet set in many states, including North Carolina’s (which depends on the House approving the latest version of H.B. 373), it appears that about 20 states will have presidential primaries or caucuses before March 15, 2016. Four other states — Ohio, Florida, Illinois, and Missouri — are slated to have their primaries on that date.
“I’d be very surprised if the Republican [nomination] isn’t still up for grabs” in mid-March, Taylor said.
North Carolina will have one of the larger delegations to the 2016 Republican National Convention, primarily because of its population and GOP success in the state.
“That would make it a bigger deal and a bigger prize to win,” Brumbaugh said. Winning all of the state’s delegates would be a momentum builder for the Republican nominee, he said.
Taylor said that while the state could be a major target for 2016 hopefuls, moving the primary date to the middle of the pack likely would negate efforts to get North Carolina’s issues raised to the intensity that states holding earlier primaries receive.
Taylor also said he expects decoupling the presidential preference primary could reduce voter turnout for the May 2016 primary for statewide and local offices.
“It still will be at a different time than the down-ballot primaries, which are still going to be in May,” Taylor said.
The March 15, 2016, primary date is not yet law. While the Senate passed H.B. 373 by a 45-0 margin, the House version of the bill had an earlier primary date. The bill moving the primary to mid-March could face a vote in the House sometime this week.Barry Smith (@Barry_Smith) is an associate editor of Carolina Journal.
RALEIGH, N.C. — On Thursday the North Carolina Supreme Court ruled the Opportunity Scholarship Program passed by the General Assembly in July 2013 is constitutional. The ruling is the final decision in this case. The program awards scholarships of up to $4,200 for low-income and working-class families to attend a private school of their choice.
“We are very thankful for the Supreme Court’s thoughtful decision in recognizing the constitutionality of the Opportunity Scholarship Program in North Carolina,” stated Speaker Tim Moore (R-Cleveland). “We are elated that students currently benefiting from the scholarship, as well as future scholarship recipients, will be able to continue to achieve their educational goals through this unique opportunity.”
“Today the Supreme Court reaffirmed that education in North Carolina is about our children and their future,” said Senate Leader Phil Berger (R-Rockingham). “This ruling makes clear that parents – not education bureaucrats or politicians – ought to be able to choose the educational pathway best suited to their children’s needs, and it empowers thousands of low-income families across the state to make that important choice.”
“Two-hundred and twenty-four schools have worked with parents to allow students to attend the school of their choice. Today’s court decision means that more families will have realistic access to educational options for their children,” said Rep. Paul Stam (R-Wake). “We will continue to work to expand the Opportunity Scholarship Program, so more student can be placed in an educational setting that is right for them.”
During the 2014-2015 school year, Opportunity Scholarships were awarded to 1,200 students attending 224 schools. Over 1,100 of these students have reapplied, joining the 4,800 applicants for the 2015-2016 school year. Both 2015 House and Senate budgets have allocated $17.6 million for the Opportunity Scholarship Program, which will likely serve approximately 4,400 students.
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC) announced the opening of a new regional office in High Point, NC, and the relocation of his Charlotte, NC, office. The state office expansion is part of Senator Tillis’ ongoing effort to broaden the range of services offered by his staff to North Carolinians in every corner of the state. The new High Point office will serve the integral North Carolina Triad region, and the more centrally located Charlotte office will continue to provide a high standard of constituent services to residents of the greater metro area.
The new High Point and Charlotte offices are in addition to the Senator’s state offices in Raleigh and Greenville. Tillis plans to open an office in Western North Carolina in the near future. Tillis encourages constituents to meet with members of his state staff and utilize his in-state offices to help resolve any issues that they might experience when dealing with the federal agencies and the government.
“I am holding myself responsible to ensure all constituent needs are met and have selected qualified staff in North Carolina and Washington who will work with constituents each and every day,” said Senator Tillis. “Our hard-working staff stands ready and willing to assist with any issue.”
YOU ARE INVITED TO THE
Annual Republican Union County Judge’s Picnic
Hosted by Sweet Union Republican Women and the Republican Forum
The Picnic will be at the home of
Pat and Barbara Harrison
2001 Belle Forest Court
Waxhaw, NC 28173
(RSVP for gate code)
Saturday, August 8th
4:00pm – 6:00pm
Hamburgers and drinks will be provided and
we ask you to bring a dish of your choice to share.
Please RSVP to
Home (704) 843-7224
Cell (704) 591-0557
Important Notice: No July meeting. Please join us for our next meeting August 6.
No July Meeting
Please join us for our next scheduled meeting:
Thursday, August 6, 2015 at 7PM
Hilltop Fish Fare and Steakhouse
Speaker: Grayson Greco, The North Carolina Values Coalition
Threats to religious liberty, recent victories in the General Assembly and the upcoming 2016 election season will all be discussed.
Join us at 6:30PM for dinner. All Republicans welcome!
Have a Happy and Safe
RALEIGH, NC – The North Carolina State Board of Elections proposes the attached Rules and invites comment from interested parties.
Written comments may be submitted until Tuesday, June 30, 2015. Comments can be emailed to email@example.com or mailed to P.O. Box 27255, Raleigh, NC 27611-7255 to the attention of Rulemaking Coordinator George McCue.
Public comment hearings have been scheduled throughout the state. A public comment hearing is to be held in Charlotte at the following place and time:
Hal Marshall Auditorium
700 North Tryon Street
Charlotte, North Carolina
Monday, June 8, 2015, 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.
Union County Republican Party County Convention
All registered Republicans welcome! Delegates will elect Union County GOP party officers to 2 year terms.
Saturday, 3/21/2015 Registration 9:00 AM to 10:00 AM
Sun Valley High School Auditorium
5211 Old Charlotte Highway, Monroe, NC
NOTE: Registration Opens at 9:00 am and Closes Promptly at 10:00 am
Convention Opens at 10:00 am
Union County Republican Party Officers:
Chair: Roger Stanton
Vice Chair: Mark Bostrom
Treasurer: Clint Laster
Secretary: Amy Steward
Nominations will close at county convention.