dates suffering major liabilities, ranging from a lack of national visibility and experience to scandal. But to the surprise of Washington insiders and President George Bush, Bill Clinton managed to wage a comeback campaign, despite an alleged extramarital affair and reports of draft evasion during the Vietnam War, to win the nomination and the presidency. Clinton's victory silenced the party reformers. 7
The Baliles party convention national primary plan will be recognized by many party experts as a modified version of the Cronin-Loevy national preprimary convention plan, first offered in 1983.
The regional primary plan resurfaced again in early 1996. Senator Slade Gorton (R-WA) introduced his version of the regional primary in the midst of the 1996 Republican nominating race. Gorton's plan would establish regional primaries of twelve or thirteen states each in the Northeast, the South, the Midwest, and the West. These primaries would take place, one each month, from March to June of the election year. The order in which the primaries would be scheduled would be rotated quadrennially so that each region would get an opportunity to go first every sixteen years.
Delegates chosen in the regional primaries would be legally bound to vote for the candidate favored by the voters through at least two ballots at the nominating convention. Gorton would allow the states to decide if delegates would be apportioned proportionately based on the primary vote or if the primary winner obtained them all on a winner-take-all basis.
Asked if his regional plan would favor establishment candidates, Gorton said that lesser-known and insurgent contenders might actually find their chances enhanced. These outside candidates, Gorton argued, could focus their efforts in a few key states where a victory could establish their credibility and help set up for the next regional vote. 8 If the Gorton plan were approved, the system would become operational in the year 2000. Gorton has conceded, however, that prospects for adoption of his plan, at least within the next four years, are not bright.