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Calif. Lawmakers Vote For Earlier Presidential Primary


California lawmakers have voted to hold presidential primary elections months earlier.

The state Senate and Assembly both approved measures Thursday to move up all primaries to March, including local and state races, but only during presidential election years.

"Under our current June primary schedule, California has largely been a non-factor when it comes to selecting presidential candidates," said Democratic Assemblyman Kevin Mullin, who authored that chamber’s bill.

Republican Assemblyman Matthew Harper argued that it’s too expensive in California for candidates without much money to draw attention.

"When you do have states like Iowa, New Hampshire, other small states, it allows presidential candidates to be able to go across and meet people on a person-to-person basis," said Harper.

The Senate and Assembly measures differ on details, but both would seek to move the primaries to immediately after the Iowa and New Hampshire votes.

For the effort to move forward, lawmakers still must reconcile the differences and get Governor Jerry Brown’s buy-in. They may also face resistance from national political parties, which have penalized states for moving up in the past.

California has moved up its primaries before—most recently in 2008, when the presidential primary was held in February, but state and local races remained in June.

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