The Democratic National Committee yesterday rejected an attempt by Puerto Rico to upstage New Hampshire and hold the first presidential primary in 1980.
With no real opposition, the party's compliance review commission ruled that the Feb. 17 date the Puerto Rico Legislature has set for the primary violates party reform rules. Unless Puerto Rico Democrats change the date, they could be denied seating at the 1980 Democratic National Convention, DNC spokesmen said.
A measure to move the date back to meet party guidelines has been introduced in the Puerto Rico Legislature, where it faces stiff opposition from Republicans.
This opposition may increase to include Democrats if the party's compliance panel, which is attempting to shorten the presidential primary season, doesn't treat New Hampshire the same as Puerto Rico, Del. Baltasar Corrada (D-P. R.) said.
"Either both places should be made to have their primaries after the cut-off, or be exempted from it," he said.
Under party rules, all primaries are to be held between March 11 and June 3. New Hampshire, which traditionally has held the nation's first primary, has scheduled its 1980 election for Feb. 26, a week after the date selected by Puerto Rico.
The compliance commission's action came as it attempted to deal with the first set of delegate-selection plans submitted for 1980. It found problems with parts of the plans submitted by nine states.