Secretary Of State Eyes Early 2016 Primary Election Date

Credit Ga. Secretary of State's Office

Georgia’s Secretary of State Brian Kemp wants to move up the state’s primary date for the 2016 presidential election, and he’s trying to get some neighboring states to do the same.As heard on the radio

Kemp wants Georgia and a handful of other surrounding states to hold their upcoming presidential primaries on March 1, creating what he’s called an “SEC Primary” – a nod to the region’s major collegiate sports conference.

“You know it would take legislative changes in those states, but if we can ban three to five states together it would really put the southeast on the map and ensure the candidates would come here and that we would have a big say in who the next president is,” Kemp said.

Kemp said he’s spoken to the secretaries of state in Louisiana, Alabama, Arkansas and Mississippi. Tennessee’s primary date is already March 1.

Last month the Republican National Convention shortened the primary calendar for the 2016 election. The RNC also agreed to levy harsh sanctions on states that hold primaries before March 1 in order to protect early voting in Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina.

Kemp believes neighboring states would still be interested in joining with Georgia, despite the possibility of candidates flocking to the metro-Atlanta region’s large media market.

“They may not be quite as appealing as we are, but I think by us banding together, there’s opportunity for the different political parties to do regional events or bilateral state events to draw candidates and draw attention to the race,” Kemp said. “That’s just part of the process.”

Gov. Nathan Deal said moving Georgia’s primary date to the earliest possible is probably a good idea.

“We’ve gone from everything from Super Tuesdays down to whoever wants to split off from that approach,” Deal said. “I haven’t talked in any detail with the secretary of state, and I look forward to doing that.”

In 2012, the state held it’s presidential primary on March 6.