ATLANTA – Georgia’s presidential primary has been scheduled for March 6, the date of next year’s “Super Tuesday,” Secretary of State Brian Kemp announced today.
“My decision to hold Georgia’s presidential preference primary on March 6, 2012 protects the interests of Georgia voters,” Kemp said in a statement. “By holding our presidential primary election on March 6, 2012 we can ensure that the voices of Georgia voters are heard and are relevant in the presidential candidate nomination process.”
States want primaries earlier, so that voters have a larger field of candidates still in the running; the later the primary, the higher the likelihood that some candidates have already dropped out of the race. However, if a state moves its primary too soon, it risks losing delegates.
“Today’s decision also makes certain that Georgia’s Republican Delegation will enter the 2012 Republican National Convention at full strength, with 76 voting delegates and an additional 76 alternates, one of the largest and most influential in the entire country,” Georgia Republican Party Chairman Everhart said in a statement.
“There is no doubt in my mind, or the minds of nearly 10 million Georgians, that any candidate wishing to receive our state’s support in next year’s election must first earn it,” Everhart added. “I trust that the Republican presidential candidates will consider this an open invitation to visit the Peach State; at the Georgia Republican Party, our door is always open.”
In a news release, Kemp’s office provided the following background:
Georgia law previously required the state to hold the presidential preference primary on the first Tuesday in February of a presidential election year. House Bill 454 requires the Secretary of State to set the presidential preference primary date by December 1st in the year prior to the presidential election year, and the date must be no later than the second Tuesday in June of the election year. The state executive committee of each political party must submit the list of candidate names for their primary ballot on a date set by the Secretary of State so the counties can build and print their ballots, and so the state can be in compliance with UOCAVA, the MOVE Act and other state election publication laws.