Election 2008

Senators Lobby for Regional Primary System

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The rapidly accelerating presidential primary schedule is frustrating some members of Congress. A number of senators want a regional primary system, with the country divided into four regions. Each region would hold a separate primary, one month apart, starting in March 2012.

The proposal comes as states are setting earlier and earlier balloting, hoping to have more influence over who will be the nominee for each party.

In a hearing in Washington Wednesday, senators discussed legislation that would group the states by region and establish the order in which the regions would hold primaries. The bill has been popular with those that would go first, but the rest of the states are unimpressed.

Both the Democratic and Republican National Committees have sent letters to the Rules Committee, which held the hearing, objecting to any federal legislation.

They say they're trying to fix the problem themselves — although they haven't had much luck so far.



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