Peach State Sees Ripe Opportunity for Presidential Politics

Posted June 28, 2011 at 4:54pm

Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina — Georgia?

The Peach State is looking at holding its presidential preference primary on a date when the state can have the most influence over the process.

Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp, who is empowered by state law to choose the primary date, said Tuesday he is keeping a close eye on when other states in the South, especially Florida, would hold their primaries.

USA Today recently reported that Florida Republicans were floating the idea of an early March primary.

“We’re a big state, we’ve been growing. Florida has been jockeying for that position, and if there’s any relenting to them with party rules and seats and delegates, we ought to be in that mix as well,” Kemp said in an interview.

Republican National Committee rules currently prohibit states other than Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina from holding primaries or caucuses before March 6. Contests held between March 6 and April 1 are required to award delegates proportionally. After April 1, states are allowed to award all their delegates to the contest winner.

“It would make for a pretty interesting day if Florida and Georgia were going on the same day,” Kemp said. He emphasized that the Sunshine State and the Peach State share a border and multiple media markets. “It would be very easy to campaign in Georgia and Florida on the same day,” he added.

Kemp said he would need to discuss any primary date with a number of people in the state before any decision was made. “I just really want us to be relevant if there’s a way for us to do that,” he said. “And it may be early, and it may not. With the flexibility we now have, we can watch the process and try to position Georgia as a state that’s going to make a difference in this race.”