Time to move Oregon primary to an earlier date?

Time to move Oregon primary to an earlier date? »Play Video

EUGENE, Ore. - With the Republican presidential contest all but done, it didn't help voter turnout on Oregon primary day.

Some observers are wondering if it's time to push for change: an earlier primary election date.

"We could be like smurfs: small and blue," joked Steve Candee, American politics teacher at Lane Community College.

That's small as in few votes, blue as in heavily Democratic.

That's why Candee says no Republican candidates for president appeared in Oregon this spring.

The lack of a competitive presidential race was likely just one of several reasons for Oregon's low ballot return rate for Tuesday, he said. "Neither one of our senators were up for election, nor the governor."

Even a late March debate in Portland between Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum fell apart because Romney had such a lead.

"That debate wouldn't do him any good," said Paul Barnett, Vice-Chair of the Lane County Republican Party. "All it could do is harm actually, so he decided that he wasn't going to be in it."

With only 7 electoral votes and a very late primary, Oregon is pretty much small potatoes. Candee and Barnett said that one idea might change that: be part of Super Tuesday.
"If we were part of the Super Tuesday states, for example, I think that could enhance our status," Candee said.

Super Tuesday was March 6, when 10 states were up for grabs. 

So should Oregon join the fray to encourage candidates to come visit? 

Candee and Barnett point out any change has to be agreed to by both Democratic and Republican state party leaders, something they say is easier said than done.   

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