The Iowa caucuses get under way Thursday, and then the spotlight will be on New Hampshire and shortly thereafter it’s Super Tuesday, so will Wisconsin even have a role in the primaries?
In 2004 Wisconsin moved its primary up from April to the middle of February, which UW political scientist Charles Franklin says put us in a very important position for the primary election . But, since then, many other states jumped ahead of us and scheduled their primaries on the 5th — Super Tuesday.
“There’s a good reason to believe that by February 5th — or right after it — the nominees in both parties will effectively be settled and that’ll be it; our primary won’t be that interesting.”
However, Franklin says if neither the Democrats nor the Republicans select their nominee after Super Tuesday, Wisconsin will actually matter … a lot.
“There’s at least a little chance that one or both will still not be settled by those 26 states. In which case, Wisconsin coming two weeks after Super Tuesday could be in a spotlight position.”
Since so many states wanted to be among the first to hold their primaries, Franklin says the smaller states run the risk of being completely ignored while candidates campaign in the bigger states. So, he says, maybe Wisconsin will get attention on the 19th.
“And so if you’re trying to place your bets maybe you’d rather place the bet on a long shot with a big role rather than moving the campaign up and running the risk of not being important in the midst of all 26 of those states.”
This presidential election is sort of a test year, Franklin says, because it’s the first year with so many primaries scheduled so early in the year.