Los Angeles (AFP) – California’s governor on Wednesday signed a law moving up its presidential primaries from June to March to give the populous, economic powerhouse state a greater voice early in the campaign when Americans elect a new president.
This means the huge haul of delegates in this Democratic stronghold will be assigned shortly after those of the first states to hold primaries or caucuses in an election year, such as Iowa and New Hampshire.
For years, California has been trying to have greater influence when Americans pick a president.
The problem for the most populous US state, whose economy is the sixth largest in the world, was its late primary date and the high cost of campaigning in expensive California media markets.
“Our voters need to be front and center in the presidential election,” said state senator Ricardo Lara two weeks ago before the state legislature approved the bill.
The law is backed by both Republicans and Democrats in California, which is governed by Jerry Brown, a Democrat.
It states that primaries in California will now be held on the first Monday in March.
That could help possible California presidential hopefuls for 2020 such as Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti or US Senator Kamala Harris.
California has tried this before.
In 2008 it moved its primary up to February, but more than 20 other states followed suit so the impact here was watered down.
And the outcome was not decisive. Hillary Clinton won the primary but Barack Obama took the Democratic presidential nomination.