Let the races begin! The governor signed into law a bill moving primaries for all elections from the first Tuesday in May to March 15. Filing begins in two months.

With the legislature out of town and the federal quarterly deadline passed, expect to see announcements throughout October. Former legislator Deborah Ross has been looking closely at the US Senate contest and left her job last week. She will likely be announcing her candidacy in the next few days. Spring Lake Mayor Chris Rey is already running.

Ross has likely held off announcing because of the September 30 FEC fundraising deadline. The Washington press and establishment will use money raised during the quarter to gauge the viability of candidates. A weak report breeds skepticism even if a candidate gets in late in the quarter. Bottom lines drive fundraising stories with little explanation, so candidates like Ross who began considering a run in the middle of quarter wait until the beginning of the next one.

Legislators will quickly need to decide if they are running again. Rep. Skip Stam announced on the last day of session that he is not running for re-election. There will certainly be a Republican primary in that district and with the changing nature of Wake County may even have a competitive general election.

People considering statewide or Congressional races will need to make decisions quickly. They have less time to raise money for what could be expensive primaries and face a daunting task of raising money between Thanksgiving and New Years. By the time January rolls around, races will be in full tilt. At this point, they are already behind schedule.

Expect a flurry of activity over the next few weeks. In just two months, we’ll have a pretty good idea of what the 2016 electoral landscape looks like for state and county races. Pushing the primary ahead by six weeks might sound like much but in a business where time is one of the most precious commodities, it’s an expensive loss. Beware the Ides of March.

Thomas Mills is the founder and publisher of PoliticsNC.com. Before beginning PoliticsNC, Thomas spent twenty years as a political and public affairs consultant. Learn more >


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