When it comes to primaries, however, PA usually takes a backseat in importance.
Some state Republicans are looking to change that.
Drawing inspiration from the Obama-Clinton contest that captured national attention in 2008, they want the Keystone State to have a say in who the GOP nominee is. It’s unlikely, though, that a primary contest will stay so competitive into April again.
Therefore, according to James O’Toole of the Post-Gazette, State Rep. Keith Greiner is sponsoring a resolution to move PA’s 2016 GOP primary into March.
Each party restricts states from scheduling an election before March 1st. This is done in order to give Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada the first say in the race. A number of Southern states are positioning themselves on March 1st in what observers are already calling the “SEC Primary”.
If Pennsylvania moved to March 15th, they would share the date with other large states like Florida, Illinois and Missouri. Such a lineup would potentially make that Tuesday a pivotal point in the GOP presidential primary.
The only problem? Party leaders don’t support it.
“I have not been supportive of changing the primary date because of the way it affects so many other people,” said PA GOP Chair Rob Gleason. “You’d have to change the date of for petition circulation…You’d be circulating petitions in January and February. I’ve always kind of resisted that.”
“I see no reason right now to change it, from the Democratic side,” Democratic party Chairman Jim Burn stated. “It throws everything out of whack; people are going to have to start a very complex series of events during the holidays…The costs and the complications far outweigh any benefits.”
Still, Representative Greiner remains optimistic.
“I have bipartisan support for this already,” Rep. Greiner responded. “I think I have more Democrats supporting this than Republicans right now. I think it would be advantageous; [it] does create a buzz in the state. There’s an economic benefit to the state as well.”