New Jersey: Irrelevant again in the 2020 primaries?

The FEC isn’t expected to release a final 2020 Presidential Primary calendar until January, 2019. But here is what it’s likely to look like (source: DemList). Once again, New Jersey? Close to last. That means that although the Dems will absolutely depend on the Garden State to fork over the big bucks, just as Hillary Clinton did in high-dollar house parties here (nearly $12 million most of it in large checks), we won’t get a say. Those high-dollar grip-and-grins aren’t the only things with big numbers. NJ’s split between the nation’s #1 (NYC) and #4 (Philly) media markets. The smarter and sleeker presidential campaigns will rely less on simply trying to televise their candidate to victory. But – truth, now – most presidential campaigns aren’t that smart, and will compensate for a lackluster or uninspiring candidate with massive TV buys. Try that in this market – with North Jersey connected to the NYC market and South Jersey hooked to Philly – and you run low on cash quick. Maybe that’s one reason we’re late.

The Dem field will be jumbo – 30-plus** potential combatants. You want to win, you’ve going to have to be viable early – candidates you haven’t heard of yet are going to have a harder time fighting for oxygen against the national names likely to get in. Super Tuesday is March 3 – it’s a monster that includes Virginia, Massachusetts and Texas. And California has moved their primary way up to be in it. Cali’s move is specifically designed to give that state more influence picking nominees. California’s tired of not being relevant; of being exactly the kind of (Dem) ATM as we are, but not getting to vote till the primary’s already essentially over. Last time, in 2016, CA & NJ were on the same day.

Now, Cali’s moved up 91 days to Super Tuesday  … leaving New Jersey in its dust.








Comment (1)

  1. Bertin Lefkovic

    While I wouls argue that the Cory Booker and the Democratic establishment erred when they didn’t try to move NJ’s primary election date to March like CA, I do not expect NJ to be irrelevant in 2020 and it is entirely possible that progressives could benefit from having the Presidential election on the ballot as well if we do the right thing and build our own opposition line to compete with the establishment line.

    Because the field is going to be as large as it is and Democrats do not have winner take all states, it is possible, if not likely that no candidate will have enough pledged delegates to win the nomination on the first ballot, which means that every state and its pledged delegates, including NJ, will be critical for accumulating delegates.

    What will be most important, especially with Cory Booker at the top of the ballot for both President and Senate, is that progressives do not allow ourselves to be divided. Prior to the filing deadline, we should have an Iowa-style caucus in every county or delegate district or a statewide convention to determine which progressive Presidential candidate has the best chance to compete with Booker here in NJ and that progressive candidate should be the only progressive candidate on the June 2020 ballot, giving her/him the best chance possible to clear the 15% threshold necessary to win a share of the state’s pledged delegates.


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *