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State Weighs Possible Primary Date Change

State Sen. Ron Calderon (D) has introduced a bill to move the state’s 2008 presidential primary from early June to the first Tuesday in February.

California officials, including Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R), have been complaining of late that the Golden State, with the biggest population in the nation, is overlooked and ignored in the quadrennial presidential nominating process. Senate bill 113 would leave the June primary in place for all contests other than the presidential primary.

The Congressional primaries would be among those that would still take place in June if the Legislature passes, and the governor signs, SB 113.

“California is the biggest and most influential state in the union yet our current June presidential primary virtually ensures that the nominees will be determined long before our voters cast their ballots,” Calderon said in a statement.

California had a June presidential primary for decades, but state officials changed it to March in the 1990s in an effort to give state voters more of a say in the nominating process. But that also leapfrogged the state’s other primaries to March, which many officeholders did not like. So they changed the primary date back to June for the 2006 elections.

Calderon is chairman of the state Senate Committee on Elections, Reapportionment and Constitutional Amendments, so he should at least be able to get the primary date measure through the Senate.
— David M. Drucker

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