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California eyes early primary


California state lawmakers are set to vote on a plan that would bring forward the date it holds its presidential primary vote, a move that could jolt national politics.

The proposal would shift the date to the first Tuesday in March from June in order to “give Californians a louder voice,” according to a statement by its two principal backers, state senator Ricardo Lara and assembly member Kevin Mullin.

June is at the end of the primary season, the period when voters choose presidential candidates for each political party.

This late date means that California — despite being the most populous US state, an economic powerhouse and carrying a massive haul of delegates — has relatively little influence in the national race. The state is often relegated to being a source of fundraising.

Last year only the tiny District of Columbia – the US capital – held a later primary election. Democratic and Republican California lawmakers support the measure, according to Lara spokesman Michael Soller.

“California is leading the nation on creating jobs, fighting pollution and protecting the rights of all who live here, and our voters need to be front and center in the presidential election,” said Lara.

Agence  France-Presse