If the primary elections to pick Republican and Democratic candidates for the 2008 ballot were held February 9 as scheduled, it's true Michigan's primary would be less important than Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Nevada. Those state have early primaries and caucuses, and more influence as a result.
"The contest will be over then," Gov. Jennifer Granholm says. It's why she, with the support of the legislature, signed a bill to move it up to Jan. 15.
"We want anyone who wants to be president to tell us what their plan is to help Michigan," State Sen. Valde Garcia says. Supporters argue it'll make candidates focus on alternative energy, manufacturing, and other issues important in Michigan.
It's a bi-partisan decision, but both parties say Michigan will be punished for doing it. Republicans promise to strip the state of half our delegates to the convention where they chose the party's candidates. Dems have said they'll exclude all. Plus, the major Democratic candidates have signed pacts saying they won't campaign in states that push the primary up.
"The national press will discount Michigan's primary," MSU political science professor Paul Abramson says, "They'll treat it as a beauty contest."
The restrictions on delegates, he says, will keep candidates from spending money for Michigan votes.
The governor remains optimistic: "They will come, they will come," she told reporters Tuesday. "The pacts they signed have loopholes you can drive a truck through."
Sen. Garcia says the delegates will be seated in the end because the candidate chosen will want all the support they can get.
Abramson says in grasping for power, the state is apt to lose some. "I don't think those arguments make a lot of sense."
The governor says the decision is final.