ATLANTA — If Secretary of State Brian Kemp gets his way, Republicans and Democrats across most of the south will form a regional voting block during the 2016 presidential primary season.
Kemp announced this week that he is reaching out to his counterparts in several southeastern states to put together a southern Super Tuesday primary date. If the other states agree to his proposal, voters across most of the Southeast would go to the polls March 1, 2016, to help choose the nominees for the Republican and Democratic parties.
“If scheduled and implemented, Republicans and Democrats in the South will have a real voice in the nominating process,” officials from Kemp’s office said in a statement. “The South has experienced a major increase in population in recent years and this should be reflected in the Presidential Preference Primary process.”
Kemp’s office said he reached out to his counterparts last week at the National Association of Secretaries of State winter conference in Washington D.C. and received “positive feedback to his proposal.”
The idea behind Kemp’s plan is to “ensure that the voice of the southeastern United States is heard loud and clear at the ballot box.”
While Kemp dreams of a regional voting block that would give southerners a stronger voice in the presidential primary process, there is one state in Georgia’s neighborhood that won’t be joining the party.
South Carolina is one of four states the Republican National Committee has said is allowed to hold a primary or caucus before March 1, 2016 without a financial penalty. It is traditionally one of the first states in the nation — along with Iowa, New Hampshire and Nevada — to pick choices for presidential nominees.
Along with South Carolina, those three other traditionally early primary and caucus states will be the only places allowed by the Republican party to decide nominees before March 1, 2016. They have been given the entire month of February to choose from, although the Iowa caucuses are by tradition held first.
The presidency will be an open seat in 2016 because President Barack Obama is constitutionally prohibited by the 22nd Amendment from seeking a third term of office.