California’s distant spectator seat in the presidential nominating arena is, in part, the result of misplaced spending priorities in Sacramento. We bought a ticket in the nosebleed section because Gov. Jerry Brown and the Legislature refused to spend an estimated $100 million for a separate presidential primary early in the nominating process.
Instead, they combined presidential balloting with the regular state primary on June 5, long after the Republican nomination surely will have been nailed down, most likely by former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. That means Republican voters in the nation’s most populous state will probably have no voice in whom the party nominates for president. They can only shout a meaningless cheer or catcall.
“Cost is always a problem,” says state Sen. Bob Dutton (R-Rancho Cucamonga), who stepped down Wednesday as Senate minority leader. “But sometimes you can be penny wise and pound foolish. It’s hard to put a price on democracy. “Frankly, I don’t think we’re treating the voters of California the way they ought to be treated.”
Dutton was one of only a few lawmakers who advocated separating the primaries, holding one in early March for presidential nominating and a second in June for legislative and congressional races.
A bill consolidating the primaries in June sailed through the Legislature and was signed by Brown. “It just made common sense to save $100 million,” says Assemblyman Paul Fong (D-Sunnyvale), chairman of the Assembly elections committee.
Sure. Times are tough. But here’s the hypocrisy: While the Democratic governor balked at spending money so Californians could help select the Republican presidential candidate, he aggressively pushed GOP lawmakers to authorize a $100-million special election so he could ask voters for a tax increase.
Full Article: California sits on sidelines in 2012 primaries – latimes.com.