Primary Opportunities Slip Away as Health Care Reform Vote Slides

Something jumped out at me in Jane Hamsher’s diary Friday morning about Lynn Woolsey’s treachery on Public Option: the California filing deadline for primary challenges is March 12th. I wondered: how many state primary deadlines will slip by as the House tries to make Bart Stupak happy? In how many states will progressive activists have to wait until 2012 to challenge Democratic incumbents who vote against women’s health rights and for a mandate to buy private health insurance? Are we losing 2010 accountability?

The answer is yes.

Here are the states with filing deadlines that expire between now and Easter, which is April 4th. Passover begins March 26th, and Congress’s Passover/Easter recess is currently rumored to be the House’s new "deadline" for passing the Senate bill. Of course, this would be on the promise of fixes from the Upper Chamber. The thirteen states with expiring primary candidate filing deadlines are:

Arkansas 3/8
Oregon 3/9
Pennsylvania 3/9
California 3/12
Nevada 3/12
Maine 3/15
Montana 3/15
Idaho 3/19
Iowa 3/19
Utah 3/19
South Dakota 3/30
South Carolina 3/30
Missouri 3/30

Moving into April, these seven states have primary filing deadlines before May First:

Tennessee 4/1
Alabama 4/2
Virginia 4/9
North Dakota 4/9
New Jersey 4/12
Georgia 4/30
Florida 4/30

Fully twenty states’ Democrats will lose the opportunity to file challengers to incumbent Democratic House members who vote to restrict women’s rights or require Americans to buy private insurance.

I’m pretty sure the Speaker knows this calendar better than I do: this makes me wonder if the current delays are about insulating incumbent Democrats from possible 2010 primary challengers.

As far as this fall’s election is concerned, where are progressive voters going to go? Without the chance to primary their Congresscritter, Democrats will be stuck supporting the incumbent.

After all, 2012 is a long time away, with lots of opportunities to make local progressives happier with their representative, right?


h/t: Thanks to FDLer Chris Dietrich for these primary dates!

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