With Mitt Romney having already been anointed as the presumed Republican Presidential candidate, one has the sense that the primary season must be over. But that is far from the case. Still ahead in May are presidential primaries in Oregon, Arkansas, Kentucky and Texas. In June, California, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico and South Dakota will hold the last of the presidential primaries.
Many of these states – Texas, California, New Jersey – have large numbers of delegates. Candidate Romney doesn’t need very many more delegates to lock in the Republican nomination. As a result these states are no longer big prizes in the overall scheme of candidate selection. It was only a month or so ago that political pundits were envisioning the Republican contest going on into summer and maybe even to the Republican convention in late August. Now there is no mention of this at all in news reports or on television and there is almost no attention being paid to these remaining presidential primaries.
Given these circumstances, there is little motivation for Republicans to go out to vote in these primaries. Holding primaries, which are really mini-elections, is an expensive operation. Wouldn’t it make sense to select state delegates to a presidential nominating convention by some other method when the process has already selected the nominee before the completion of all the state primaries, as is the case this year with Mitt Romney?
In New York State, during the recent controversy over setting dates for various state and federal primaries, it was estimated that running a state-wide primary or election costs in the range of $50 million. The price is probably similar in other states – at least the larger ones. Because the outcome of the Republican Presidential candidate selection process was no longer in serious question, in the recent Republican Presidential primary held on April 26, 2012, just under 163,000 Republicans came out to vote. That amounts to $306 for each vote cast. Is there a better way?