Bill would move primary to January
March 6, 2013
After calls to eliminate Nevada’s caucus last year, Senate Republicans have introduced a bill to move Nevada’s primary to January.
Senate Bill 212 was introduced on Monday by senators James Settelmeyer and Barbara Cegavske, and assemblymen Crescent Hardy, James Wheeler and Pete Livermore.
The bill would make sweeping changes in how the state parties select their candidates and extend the election season by five months. Nevada’s primary is currently in June.
If approved the bill would replace the current caucus system, where the party members gather in their precincts and meet to debate and select their preference for a presidential candidate and delegates to the county convention.
In 2016, neither party will have an incumbent president, so both will have to select a candidate.
Under the bill introduced on Monday, the statewide primary election of even numbered years would change to the Tuesday immediately preceding the last Tuesday in January. In 2014 that would be Jan. 21.
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If another Western state scheduled its presidential primary earlier than the date in January the Secretary of State and the Legislative Commission would be charged with picking an earlier date, as long as it didn’t precede the beginning of the year or fall on a Saturday.
During the 2012 caucus, 14 percent of the Douglas County’s Republicans turned out, far less than the primary election turnout.
Caucus goers said they would have preferred to have a primary election in the Presidential race. Nevadans haven’t held a presidential preference primary since May 1980.
The bill was read for the first time on Monday and referred to the Committee on Legislative Operations and Elections.
Republicans all over the state signed petitions calling for a primary election.
Moving the primary election would require filing for office to begin in October, more than a year before the general election.