SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California lawmakers voted early Saturday to set the state’s presidential primary in March, a move that would force candidates to mount expensive campaigns earlier in the state that awards the most delegates.
The bill will go to Gov. Jerry Brown for consideration. He has not said if he will sign it.
The bill would move the presidential primary to the Tuesday after the first Monday in March — three months earlier than the June contest held in 2016, when Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump were already the presumptive nominees.
A March primary would likely fall on so-called “Super Tuesday,” when roughly a dozen states typically vote following the early primaries in Iowa, New Hampshire and several other states.
“Candidates will have to spend more time in California,” said Democratic Assemblyman Kevin Mullin of San Francisco.
An earlier primary could give an edge to well-funded candidates.
California is home to 11 media markets, making it expensive to campaign.
It’s easier for candidates with limited money to compete alongside financial heavy-hitters in early primary states such as Iowa and New Hampshire. In 2016, for example, John Kasich took second in New Hampshire with limited money, while Jeb Bush, who had more than $100 million, placed fourth.
“The cost of playing in California versus playing in New Hampshire, Iowa, South Carolina is incredibly different,” said Mike Biundo, Republican Rick Santorum’s 2012 campaign manager who later worked for Kasich and Trump. “A Jeb Bush or a Hillary Clinton, I think, have the…
click here to read more.