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Tuesday, 06 March 2007 22:14

California One Step Away From Early Primary

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slide22The California Legislature on Tuesday approved what they hope will give the state a greater voice in the race for the White House by moving the state's presidential primary from June to February. The Assembly approved the bill 46-28, along party lines, and now the bill sits on Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s desk. Schwarzenegger has said he supports the concept of the new law. The effort to move the primary has been cast by its supporters as an attempt to force presidential candidates to campaign in California, rather than merely coming to the state to raise money. Opponents said moving the primary to February is merely a smoke screen for the personal agendas of lawmakers who want to extend their terms. A proposed measure that would go on a February ballot would allow legislators to serve longer in their respective houses.
Republicans, who are in the minority in the 80-seat chamber, opposed the measure because it does not guarantee funding for counties that would administer the additional election. A third election is expected to cost California taxpayers an additional $60 million to $90 million. They tried to amend the bill to require reimbursement from the state, but the effort failed. Schwarzenegger, who is supportive of an early presidential primary, is waiting to see the final bill before deciding whether to sign it, his spokesman said. "He supports moving the California primary up so we can be more relevant in the presidential primary," Schwarzenegger spokesman Aaron McLear said before Tuesday's vote. "As it stands now, California is an afterthought. They come here just for our money."
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