In the hotly contested Democratic Presidential nominating contest, the delegates from Michigan and Florida, which already held Presidential primaries which were labeled as meaningless by the Democratic Party, may become crucial in deciding a winner in the race. Thus, there have been discussions, particularly in Michigan, of holding another Presidential primary or caucus to award the delegates, probably in early June. Broadcasters have asked whether they would need to provide lowest unit rates yet again if such a primary is held, given that they have already had one lowest unit rate window for the Presidential primaries already this year. It seems to me that the answer is yes, a new lowest unit rate window would again open for any rescheduled primary.
While some might contend that a second window for the same election is somehow unfair, it is not at all unprecedented. In a number of states, such as Louisiana, candidates in some elections must receive a majority of the votes (50% plus one) to be declared the winner. Thus, in an election, it is not uncommon for there to be no "winner" in the November election, with a run-off having to be held a month or two later. In those cases, lowest unit rates apply to the run-off, just as they did to the initial election. Of course, the window is only available to the candidates competing in the election at issue, so if Michigan were to reschedule a primary in June, only the Democratic presidential candidates would be entitled to the rate – while Senator McCain, the presumptive Republican nominee, could be required to pay full rates for any ads that he might choose to run in this same period. For more information about political broadcasting issues, see our Political Broadcasting Guide, which can be found here.