From an editorial in The High Point Enterprise on Wednesday:
A key legislator says North Carolina may need to tweak changes it made last year in when the state holds its presidential primaries. The legislator says the state must be careful not to violate rules of the national Republican and Democratic parties, which could result in the state losing voting delegates at those party nominating conventions.
Last year, the GOP-led legislature moved N.C.s traditional May presidential primary to the first Tuesday after the South Carolina presidential primary, beginning in 2016. The S.C. primary traditionally is the first among southern states and usually is held in mid- to late-February. S.C. officials werent overjoyed with N.C.s action, but couldnt stop the move.
Last week, however, the Republican National Committee revised its presidential candidate selection process, and one of the changes barred states from holding primaries earlier than March 1, except for four states, including South Carolina. If North Carolina broke that ban, the national GOP would penalize the state and allow only 13 delegates, down sharply from the 55 in 2012.
So, N.C. Rep. David Lewis, R-Harnett, chairman of the House Elections Committee and a member of the Republican National Committee, now says the General Assembly must revise the law to comply with the GOP rule. He also said a change must also comply with Democratic Party rules, so N.C. Democrats dont lose their voice at that national convention.
The Enterprise long has supported moving the May primary to much earlier in the year, and last years switch to just after South Carolina sounded fine. So its frustrating that the national parties can enact such restrictions, especially when its the taxpayers of North Carolina who fund the bulk of the cost of holding those presidential primaries.
But we also dont want state parties penalized and their national voices muted. So if the new state law has to be changed to set North Carolinas presidential primary no earlier than March 1, so be it. In 2016, that would be the first Tuesday in March. Sounds like a good time for Tarheel voters to nominate presidential candidates.
N.C. Opinion offers views from various newspapers. The views are not necessarily those of the Observers editorial board.
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