The evidence is unmistakable. Campaign press releases flooding the inbox. Candidates speaking wherever they can find two constituents to rub together. Campaign buses and caravans clogging the highways*. Candidate interviews all over the electronic media. Debates and forums seemingly every night.
* The candidates could substantially reduce their carbon footprint if they’d only carpool to joint appearances. I can see it now: Phil Scott is, of course, the driver. Bruce Lisman is offering fuel-saving tips and checking GasBuddy for the best place to fill up. Matt Dunne is babbling about driverless technology and electric cars. Sue Minter is pointing out how smooth the roads are. Peter Galbraith is in the back, complaining loudly, and nobody’s paying much attention.
… And Brooke Paige is lagging on the roadside, riding a scooter and shouting “Wait for me!”
Yes, the campaign is in high gear. It happened sometime between the end of the legislative session and last week: all at once, we went from “there’s plenty of time” to “Oh my God, it’s almost here!”
Time’s a-wastin’. It’s been about six weeks since the Legislature adjourned — the traditional kickoff of campaign season. And it’s only about six more weeks until Primary Day, August 9.
Which is the earliest primary date in, well, probably forever. Until 2010, our primary was traditionally held after Labor Day. This year, it moved from late August to early in the month, roughly two weeks earlier. The reason was to allow more time for recounts and disputes, and still get ballots out in time for absentees (notably overseas military personnel) to make their votes count.
The effect has been profound, especially in a year of such intense competition. We thought the early primary might have an effect on turnout — and it will. But its intensification of the primary season is more of a surprise.