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November 17, 2007
Michigan Primary Now in Limbo
The January 15 Michigan primary is now off, the result of a court decision that found part of the law authorizing it illegal.
Under Michigan law, if one part of the measure was found illegal, the entire law had to be scuttled.
The National Democratic party had placed sanctions on the Michigan party for violating a rule that no primaries could be held prior to February 5. Beyond that, the proposed Michigan primary threw a monkey wrench into the entire primary system because it would have been held prior to New Hampshire's "First in the nation" primary. New Hampshire law stipulates that they must hold their primary at least 7 days before any other state's contest. That would place the New Hampshire contest on the 8th of January - just 5 days after the Iowa Caucuses.
There is still a chance legislators will force a primary on that date:
Minutes after its release, Michigan Republican Party Chairman Saul Anuzis called on the Legislature to approve a bill pending in the state House designed to restore the primary. Michigan may not be able to hold any contest at all and may be forced to fall back on party conventions to choose delegates for the convention.
Lawmakers are tentatively scheduled to convene on Tuesday, but may not act. Despite backing from Gov. Jennifer Granholm and other Democratic Party leaders, support for the Jan. 15 primary in the Democrat-controlled state House is tepid.
Backers of the primary – designed to give Michigan a more prominent role in selecting the next president – also could seek further court review, although time is running short for that option. State elections officials told the appeals court Thursday they needed a final decision within days to meet schedules for preparing absentee ballots.