The Democratic and Republican state parties in Texas jointly proposed an April 3 primary for 2012 federal races and submitted their request to a federal court today.
A federal, three-judge panel must approve their request after the Supreme Court intervened and nullified the state’s new Congressional map, forcing the state to move its election calendar.
The Supreme Court will hear oral arguments on Jan. 9 to determine whether a three-judge panel overstepped its jurisdiction by drastically redrawing a new Congressional map passed by lawmakers that is now being litigated in federal court. Also in January, Texas will face the Justice Department in a separate trial over the map's preclearance in the District of Columbia's District Court.
As a result of these ongoing trials, the three-judge panel in San Antonio must approve a new primary date — and asked the parties to come to an agreement on the timetable.
Lone Star State party officials requested a new filing deadline on Feb. 1, primary on April 3 and runoff election on June 5. They expect the panel to approve their submission shortly.
“We’re glad to have worked out an agreement which we feel works best for Texans. Given the less-than-ideal circumstances, we think that this election schedule is a workable solution that will create the least confusion for the voters," Texas Democratic Party Chairman Boyd Richie said. "We’re pleased that the agreement maintains a unified primary, which will save taxpayers money.”
"We are hopeful that with both a timely ruling from the U.S. Supreme Court and subsequent finalized maps, that this agreement not only preserves the original structure of a unified primary but provides us enough time to accomplish it in a fair and orderly fashion," said Steve Munisteri, chairman of the Republican Party of Texas.
If a candidate does not acquire 50 percent of the vote in the primary, they proceed to a runoff. The state has a competitive open-seat GOP Senate primary and a host of closely watched House primaries on tap next year.