FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Bi-partisan group of party leaders to convene in Washington DC to urge action for reform of primary calendar for 2012 prior to 2008 deadline: the GOP Convention
-- RNC & DNC Rules Chairmen and Secretaries of State lead call for reform: Call for primaries to start later in 2012. Deadline for change: 2008 GOP Convention.
Sausalito, CA -- August 19, 2008 -- "The National Presidential Caucus for 2012 Primary Reform", a project of the Open Caucus Institute, a non-partisan and not-for-profit organization "for more participatory democracy", convenes a distinguished group of bi-partisan party leaders and state officials at the Washington, DC Press Club, August 20, 2008 to discuss the importance of reforming the 2012 Primary calendar.
Participating in the "National Caucus for 2012 Primary Reform" will be David Norcross, Chair Republican Party Rules Committee; James Roosevelt, Co-Chair Democratic Party Rules Committee, Trey Grayson, Kentucky Secretary of State and President-elect, National Association of Secretaries of State; Don Means, Director of the Open Caucus Instititute.
Through the National Presidential Caucus, the Open Caucus Institute hopes to foster general awareness of important GOP party-mandated deadlines looming in September 2008 and aims to provide a direct response to the de facto national primary of 2008, the last minute calendar changes, states' unhappiness with IA & NH having perpetual first status, and the general malaise from party leaders on both sides of the aisle who are increasingly worried about the 2012 Primary calendar.
In an effort to increase the chances that a new primary plan will be adopted before 2012, the Open Caucus Institute has initiated the "National Presidential Caucus for 2012 Primary Reform" to discuss and deliberate changes to the vital primary process and to advocate for reform. The National Caucus for Primary Reform http://www.naitonalcaucus.org aims to heighten public awareness by highlighting the urgency and importance of the situation and to call for action by responsible parties as well as for involvement by ordinary citizens.
According to Don Means, Director of the Open Caucus Institute, "In this historic year of 2008, with its record levels of participation, the formal primary process teeters on the brink of chaos. From Florida in 2000 to Florida and Michigan in 2008, the world's oldest democracy has lurched from one systemic crisis to the next. It's important to promote discussion and action now," said Means. "The Republican Party may, by its own rule, only make changes at its national convention in Minneapolis in September. If no reform is adopted at the Republican Convention, there's very little the Democratic Party, which gives itself more time to consider changes, can do later on its own."
"Because of the timing of the Republican rules process, it is important that both parties work together now if there is to be any change in the presidential nominating schedule," said James Roosevelt, Co-chairman of the DNC Rules Committee.
Republican National Committee Rules Chairman David Norcross said, "I believe we are closer to getting some kind of meaningful reform in June of 2008 than ever before."
Toward that goal, in April 2008, the Republican Rules Committee adopted the so-called Ohio Plan which establishes a block of small states to have the option to stage their contests in advance of all remaining states who would be divided into three roughly equal groups to subsequently vote on a rotating basis. The plan, which next goes to the convention for consideration, also protects exemptions for Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina to lead off the process. A major stumbling block with the Ohio Plan, however, has been the dissatisfaction of larger states in yielding primacy to early small states who forward the argument that only small states allow the kind of face to face campaigning that gives unknown or underfunded candidates a chance to catch hold and effectively compete.
According to Ohio Plan author, Bob Bennett state GOP chair, "You either believe in retail politics or you don't."
Both Michael A. Mauro, Iowa Secretary of State and Trey Grayson, Kentucky Secretary of State believe the primary season should begin later.
“I’m pleased after thorough discussion and debate there was a consensus among individuals that change needs to take place to restore order to the nomination calendar," said Michael A. Mauro, Iowa Secretary of State. "The process – unlike in this year’s election – needs to start later.”
"I believe this is one of the most important issues facing our democracy: how we choose our president during the nominating process...We have a process that disenfranchises a lot of voters all across the country," commented Trey Grayson, Kentucky Secretary of State prior to the event. "It is essential that we give citizens the chance to discuss the important issues facing our country."
"The Open Caucus Institute urges every citizen, every state and national party to give intense focus to this vital public policy issue that will determine how the next primary will be run. We encourage everyone to become informed on the history of the process, the various proposals being made and to participate by advocating for the plan they support," said Means. "If our country believes the spread of democracy is worth fighting and dying for then we better make damn sure our own example is not a bumbling fiasco ."
Open Caucus Institute is a public benefit corporation working for a more participatory democracy.
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