The first Republican presidential primary has been postponed because hardly any candidates are officially running yet, Politico's James Hohmann reports. The debate, sponsored by NBC, Politico and the Ronald Reagan Foundation, was scheduled for May 2. But thus far, almost all of the people who've officially launched exploratory committees are fringe candidates with little chance of pulling themselves out of asterisk territory in the polls--pizza magnate Herman Cain, Rent-Is-Too-Damn-High-meme Jimmy McMillan, and gay activist Fred Karger, for example. Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, who's pulling in 3 percent among Republicans, is the only top-tier contender to have officially created an exploratory committee; Newt Gingrich has only committed to exploring whether to explore.
In 2007, Politico and MSNBC hosted a GOP debate on May 3, and ten major contenders showed--including John McCain, Rudy Giuliani, and Mitt Romney. This year's debate is now set for September 14. Still, those eager to see some GOP sparring won't have to wait all those extra months--as New York's Dan Amira notes, the next debate is scheduled only three days later, on May 5. That debate, hosted by Fox News and the South Carolina Republican Party, was billed as the "First in the South" presidential debate. Now organizers can remove that regional qualifier.