firehouse primary

A primary to select candidates what is run by a political party and not the state.

Similar to a party canvas, a firehouse primary allows the party to keep control of the nominating process while allowing more participation than a party caucus. Participants generally arrive at multiple polling places anytime during announced polling hours, cast a secret ballot, and then leave.

William Safire noted the earliest in print reference to a firehouse primary was a 1990 Washington Times article about the selection of Democratic Party candidates for the county board in Arlington, Va.