Happiness to all as we enter the year-end holiday period. In honor of the season, we will take a brief publication hiatus for the next few days but be back at the beginning of the new year. Thank you for a great 2014 and enjoy the time with your loved ones.
Two days ago it was predicted that New York Rep. Michael Grimm (R-Staten Island) would plead guilty to one count of tax evasion, and then soon resign his House seat possibly as a way to avoid incarceration. The prediction proved half true.
Grimm did, in fact, plead guilty in federal court to one count of tax evasion from an enterprise occurring prior to his entering Congress. His sentencing is now scheduled for June 8, but the representative stated he does not intend to resign from office.
It is likely just a matter of time before he is forced to do so, however, either by having to report to prison or, simply because his status as a convicted felon may disqualify him from congressional service because he will no longer be an elector. Voting privileges are suspended until the completion of a sentence even if the penalty consists only of probation and paying a fine.
In any event, it appears Grimm will take the oath of office for a new term and continue to execute his duties at least until early June. This means that any special election to be called for his eventual vacancy will now be in the latter half of 2015 instead of an earlier time frame.
The Politico newspaper published a story about Republican leaders in the Deep South states beginning to coalesce around the idea of putting forth a potential 2016 regional primary date. The early discussions center around the prominence they could gain for their individual states if they ban together to host a mega-regional nominating event.
Party officers in Georgia, Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi and Arkansas appear to be moving closer to holding their primary elections jointly on March 1, 2016. The delegate-rich states of Texas and Florida could conceivably join them, but the pair could each also forge ahead individually. Particularly in the case of Texas, expecting them to hold their major primary in a more exclusive setting is likely.
South Carolina, one of four states sanctioned (according to Republican Party rules) to hold their nominating event prior to March 1, will conduct its primary on a Saturday in late February, after the Iowa caucus, New Hampshire primary, and Nevada caucus, in that order. Louisiana will likely hold a caucus on a date yet to be determined. Kentucky is up in the air largely because favorite son, Sen. Rand Paul, would like to find a way to run for both president and Senate simultaneously, a proposition that Kentucky election law does not allow; North Carolinians normally vote in early May.
But a Dixie regional primary would add extra punch to the March 1 nominating date, and make the South the dominant region on the early political calendar. Depending upon the ebb and flow of the earlier state results, it’s not out of the realm of possibility that the grouping could create enough momentum behind one candidate so as to launch him or her definitively toward the official party nomination.
Such a Deep South move would likely favor a more conservative candidate, and could deal a serious blow to 2012 GOP nominee Mitt Romney, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie should they all actually decide to become candidates.
As we begin to move forward in the presidential nomination process, more than the candidates will play a role in determining an ultimate victor. Mundane topics such as the voting order and schedule may also prove to be make-or-break factors for all of the Republican and Democratic presidential aspirants.