Today, the Michigan House of Representatives will vote on a bill to establish a statewide Jan. 15 primary. Some dissident legislators may try, at the last moment, to change the date to Jan. 8 -- but their move is unlikely to withstand the forces in support of the mid-January date.
Assuming the bill passes, there will be a brief House/Senate conference, and Gov. Jennifer Granholm will sign the bill into law.
At that point, Michigan's Democratic Party chair, Mark Brewer, has a choice. Does he support the primary? Does he somehow try to opt out and hold a caucus? Does it matter what he does or thinks once the legislature has acted?
The state's most powerful union -- the UAW -- is on board with the Jan. 15. date. That's contrary to what I reported two weeks ago. I was in error. A minority of UAW political types want a caucus, but the union's top leadership has committed to support a statewide primary.
If Michigan moves to Jan. 15, the Democratic National Committee will probably strip the state of all its delegates.
John Edwards and Barack Obama will be faced with a series of questions: is it better to husband resources for states that have delegates? Could they get away with skipping a primary in a must-win general election state like Michigan? How will the media cover the primary?
The Republican National Committee would penalize Michigan, but half the state's delegates would still be in play. In a Jan. 15 primary -- as opposed to a caucus or a convention -- it's concievable that a candidate with post-Iowa/NH momentum could perform really well. It would be much more parlous for any Republican to skip the state.
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