Do blue suede shoes come in another color?
A different kind of pilgrimage is underway this week in Memphis, Tenn., where Republican leaders from all 50 states are contemplating wholesale changes to the political calendar for 2016 that could impact not only red states, but Connecticut.
The cradle of Elvis Presley and the blues is hosting the spring meeting of the Republican National Committee, which Connecticut GOP Chairman Jerry Labriola Jr. said is in talks to condense its schedule of presidential primaries and caucuses two years from now.
The season would start in February and end in May, with victor accepting the GOP nomination at the national party convention in late June, according to Labriola, who is eying an earlier primary date for Connecticut.
“You could make an argument that maybe we should move up a little bit,” Labriola told Hearst Connecticut Media, acknowledging the a new calendar would require buy-in from Democrats and the Legislature. “That remains to be seen.”
Up until 2008, both parties in Connecticut held their primaries on Super Tuesday, which fell in early February and drew visits from then-U.S. Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., and future first lady Michelle Obama.
In 2011, looking to create a regional primary with New York, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania and Delaware, the General Assembly ended the tie-in with Super Tuesday. But the inability of the states to get on the same page for setting a date for the proceedings relegated the regional primary to April 24. By that point in 2012, Mitt Romney had all but wrapped up the GOP’s nomination.
“It will be something that I think we should take a look at to perhaps give Connecticut a little bit more impact in the process,” Labriola said.
Republicans are also in the process of forming a new committee on presidential debates for the primary season, with an eye toward reducing the total to six or seven from the 23 held in 2012, “where we sliced and diced each other up,” Labriola said.
The RNC booked the swank Peabody hotel — a Memphis institution known for daily procession of ducks from a rooftop fountain to the lobby by elevator — for its three-day conclave.
It’s a chance for GOP leaders to mix business with pleasure, with the itinerary including outings to Beale Street and the Rendezvous, where Britain’s Prince Harry recently feasted on dry rub ribs during a visit to Memphis for a wedding.
U.S. Sens. Rand Paul, R-Kent., and Marco Rubio, R-Fla., are scheduled to address the 168 members of the RNC.
Since no trip to the Blues City would be complete without a pilgrimage to Graceland, Republicans will visit the King on Friday.
Just don’t step on his blue suede shoes.