Reported previously on Colorado Confidential, Colorado lawmakers did away with early presidential primaries back in 2003 and went to a caucus system, leaving Colorado without any influence in the presidential selection.
That might all change. Sen. Joan Fitz-Gerald is looking at sponsoring a bill that would give Colorado a presidential primary on the first Tuesday in February, according to Colorado Democratic Party chair Pat Waak. “We are discussing the implications of an early primary or moving up the caucus process,” Waak said.Recently, several Western states have changed their presidential primary date to the first Tuesday in February. New Mexico, Arizona and Utah are participating and Montana, Idaho and Wyoming are working towards joining the group. Now that Denver is hosting the Democratic National Convention, there has been some political pressure for Colorado to participate in the “Western Super Tuesday” on Feb. 5, 2008.
However, Colorado might end up being a drop in the presidential primary bucket along with the other Rocky Mountain States and even Iowa and New Hampshire. California, with its 16 million registered voters, is contemplating to move its primary presidential election to the first Tuesday in February as is Florida, Illinois and New Jersey.
The estimated cost to move the primary is between $85 and $90 million in California compared to about 2 million in Colorado. California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger said the Feb. 5 primary date would make California relevant in the presidential selection process.
Currently, the Iowa caucuses are scheduled for Jan. 14, 2008 with Nevada next on Jan. 16th and the New Hampshire primary is slated for Jan. 22. South Carolina plans on a Jan. 29th primary.
With the possible changes in the presidential primary process, candidates of both parties will be forced to re-evaluate their campaign strategies and fundraising priorities. Combining the high costs and time needed for traveling across country to the early primary states, plus adding the expensive price tag of advertising in these major markets may force presidential candidates to rely more on the Internet to get their message to primary voters.