By Jason Evans

Staff Reporter

COUNTY — Although he hopes the state is on the downward curve of COVID-19 cases by then, Rep. Neal Collins believes the coronavirus could cause the June 9 primary election to be delayed.

During a Facebook Live question-and-answer session he hosted last week, Collins was asked about the possibility of a delay.

“Yes, there is a possibility,” Collins said. “I support it. I think that it’s the fair thing to do, especially, ironically, for the challengers.”

Collins himself has two challengers in the June 9 primary.

“At the end of the day, I don’t think any of us are able to campaign right now and I don’t think we’re going to be able to through June,” he said. “For me, it’s a matter of fairness not only for the candidate but, more importantly, for the public at large, for them to know who they’re voting for and what they’re voting for.”

By the time of the primary as scheduled, Collins said he expects the state will be on “the downslope” of COVID-19 cases, but the transmissions of the virus will still be happening “unless some miracle happens.”

Pointing to a “stay at home” sign on the wall behind him, Collins said “we’re probably still going to have these type of signs.”

Collins said he felt a delay could happen under two scenarios.

The governor can order the primary to be delayed, he said.

“But he has to order it 15 days beforehand, so for those candidates that doesn’t give too much time on trying to plan,” Collins said.

The legislature could change the primary date by passing a state law, he said.

Legislators and the governor are looking at trends connected with the COVID-19 pandemic, Collins said. As with so much else regarding the virus, there’s not a definitive answer yet.

“The best that I can answer that is to say … yes, it is a possibility, but as of right now I can’t tell you yes or no,” Collins said.