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RI presidential primary (yawn) comes up next Tuesday

April 17, 2012

Rhode Island holds its presidential primary Tuesday, but there isn’t much in the way of suspense. There is more talk around here about Friday’s 100th anniversary of  Fenway Park and the Boston Bruins Stanley Cup defense.

Ron Paul and Calista Gingrich, wife of  former Speaker Newt Gingrich, are both stumping in Rhode Island Wednesday, but they are fighting for the crumbs of the state’s vote. Under Republican Party rules, Gingrich or Paul would have to harvest 15 percent of the vote to be eligible for delegates to the Republican National Convention.

Because former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, who was in the state last week,  already has the nomination virtually wrapped up, Rhode Island’s vote is largely moot. (Except for those running for convention delegate, which would give them the right to attend the RNC in Tampa).

On the Democratic side, there is nothing at stake other than which delegates get elected to the DNC, which will be held in Charlotte. President Barack Obama is the lone candidate on the Democratic ballot Tuesday.

The 2012 presidential sweepstakes is in stark relief to the excitement of  the 2008 presidential primary campaign here. On the Democratic side, there was a spirited battle between Hillary Clinton and Obama for the nomination and Rhode Island hosted personal campaigning by both of them and tons of money spent on television advertising and the ground game. Clinton crushed Obama in the Rhode Island primary but went on to lose the nomination.

The main reason that Rhode Island has no significance this election cycle is the calendar. In 2008, our state’s primary was held in early March on the same day as Ohio, Texas and Vermont.



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