LANSING, Mich. – The state Senate passed a bill Wednesday setting up a Jan. 15 presidential primary, but Michigan Democrats continued to fight among themselves over whether to hold a primary or a caucus.
The bill passed 21-17, with all Republicans voting for it and all Democrats voting against.
State Democratic Chairman Mark Brewer said the bill contains language that doesn't comply with national Democratic rules, so it's unacceptable. The bill is expected to be changed once it reaches the Democrat-controlled House.
A number of prominent
But not all Michigan Democrats favor a primary. Backers of former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards want to hold a caucus because they think that will increase the influence of union members who back him.
U.S. Rep. Bart Stupak, a Menominee Democrat who supports Edwards, said in a letter released Tuesday night that he opposes a presidential primary.
He didn't mention Edwards, instead saying it would be irresponsible to hold an expensive, state-paid presidential primary at a time when the
"It is inappropriate for the state legislature to vote to fund an unnecessary political presidential primary and then ask taxpayers to increase their taxes because the state is broke!" Stupak wrote. He said he'd support a statewide primary only if the cost was borne by the presidential candidates or state party organizations.
Democratic leaders who support a primary were drafting their own letter saying the cost of a primary was worth it because voter turnout would be so much higher.
More than 1 million people voted in
South Carolina Democrats are scheduled to hold their primary Jan. 29 — the same day as
South Carolina Republicans recently leapfrogged
"As long as we're first in the South, we're solid on the 19th," he said. "If a Southern state tries to move before our historical preference of the first primary in the South, we're prepared to move — and we can move — on an hour's notice."
He's irked, however, that
No date has been publicly announced, but "I'm thinking about moving the date right now,"