As the number of candidates seeking the Republican nomination nears a dozen, with more to come, the calendar of primaries has drawn increased attention, with party strategists trying to determine which contests will begin to winnow the field. Though the calendar remains unsettled, several Southern states, including Alabama and Arkansas, are looking to have an effect on the race by holding contests on the same date – creating a so-called SEC primary, named after the college sports Southeastern Conference. In Florida, Republicans have rallied around a winner-take-all primary that could be a jackpot in the race for delegates and potentially determine the electoral fate of the state’s former governor, Jeb Bush and its current Republican senator, Marco Rubio.
And in Nevada, lawmakers weighed legislation — championed by Republicans — that would have allowed parties to choose between the current caucus system or a primary. Late Monday, the legislation stalled as the session came to a close, likely killing the proposal for this election cycle.
“What we have right now is a very compressed calendar with important contests taking place within several weeks of one another,” said Josh Putnam, a visiting assistant professor of political science at Appalachian State University in North Carolina, who studies primaries and writes the blog FrontloadingHQ. “It won’t be nearly as elongated as the last cycle.”