Las Vegas Sun

September 3, 2015

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Bill would replace presidential caucuses with primary elections

CARSON CITY — Nevada would be first state in the West to hold a presidential primary election, giving overseas military members a voice in choosing a candidate, under a bill introduced in the state Senate on Monday.

With the present system of choosing presidential nominees by caucus, military members serving overseas have no chance to participate.

Nevada last held a presidential primary election in 1996, when Republicans chose Sen. Bob Dole to be their candidate.

At present, Democrats and Republicans hold party caucuses with the delegates in attendance voting.

Under Senate Bill 212, each major political party could ask the Secretary of State to schedule a presidential primary. The election would be held only if more than one candidate is running.

The proposed primary election in Nevada would be held on the second-to-last Tuesday in January.

If one of the other 13 states in the West moved ahead of Nevada, the secretary of state would have the authority to move the primary election date to no earlier than Jan. 2. That would have to be ratified by the Legislative Commission.

Sen. James Settelmeyer, R-Minden, said one drawback would be that state and local candidates would have to campaign longer if the election was held in January. Now, the state primary is scheduled for June.

Cosponsor Sen. Barbara Cegavske, R-Las Vegas, said the present caucus system has not worked well.

The statewide primary election would be advanced only in presidential years, Settelmeyer said.

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