News and Tribune

Columns

February 24, 2013

HOWEY: Moving up Indiana’s primary election

ANDERSON — In April 2008, Hillary Clinton made a campaign appearance at the Wigwam in Anderson. About two hours before she took the stage, a huge line of thousands of people encircled the historic basketball gym, waiting to get in.

A few weeks later, just hours before this historic Indiana presidential primary, more than 25,000 people jammed the American Legion Mall in downtown Indianapolis to hear Barack Obama on a rainy night.

By the time of Obama's historic victory in Indiana that November, there were about 150 presidential-level appearances by Obama and Clinton, by John McCain, Sarah Palin, Michelle Obama, and Bill and Chelsea Clinton. The Hoosier political junkies had not seen anything like it since the 1968 primary involving Robert F. Kennedy, Eugene McCarthy and Gov. Roger Branigin.

Earlier this month, Craig Dunn, Howard County Republican chairman, told me, “We've got to move up the Indiana presidential primary.”

The reason is clear: Millions of dollars from the Obama and Clinton campaigns spilled into the state. They opened close to 50 regional offices. More than 200,000 new voters were registered. Primary turnout went from 21% in 2004 to 39% in 2008. Obama spent about $1 million in the week before the primary. Slate Magazine totaled up the Indiana experience:  Hillary Clinton, 37 stops in the state, 14 days spent (2.64 stops per day); Barack Obama, 25 stops in the state, 16 days spent (1.56 stops per day).

The 2008 presidential race totaled $2.4 billion, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. Obama and McCain spent more than $1 billion together.

What is keeping Indiana from moving up the presidential primary calendar? The short answer is the Indiana General Assembly, where numerous legislative leaders have balked over the years at having to campaign while in session. Yet, a legislator facing a primary challenge cannot raise money during the session, and is severely crimped from a scheduling standpoint after the session ends.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Columns
LOCAL MAGAZINES
2013 Photos of the year


Take a look at our most memorable photos from 2013.

SPECIAL CONTENT
Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
AP Video
Captain of Sunken SKorean Ferry Arrested Raw: Fire Destroys 3 N.J. Beachfront Homes Raw: Pope Presides Over Good Friday Mass Raw: Space X Launches to Space Station Superheroes Descend on Capitol Mall Man Charged in Kansas City Highway Shootings Obama Awards Navy Football Trophy Anti-semitic Leaflets Posted in Eastern Ukraine Raw: Magnitude-7.2 Earthquake Shakes Mexico City Ceremony at MIT Remembers One of Boston's Finest Raw: Students Hurt in Colo. School Bus Crash Raw: Church Tries for Record With Chalk Jesus Raw: Faithful Celebrate Good Friday Worldwide Deadly Avalanche Sweeps Slopes of Mount Everest Police Arrest Suspect in Highway Shootings Drought Concerns May Hurt Lake Tourism Vermont Goat Meat Gives Refugees Taste of Home Calif. Investigators Re-construct Fatal Bus Cras Mayor Rob Ford Launches Re-election Campaign Appellate Court Hears Okla. Gay Marriage Case
2013 Photos of the year


Take a look at our most memorable photos from 2013.