California may hold its presidential primary elections in March after lawmakers in both chambers of the Legislature passed bills Thursday to increase the influence of the nation’s largest and most diverse state. The state Senate passed a bill to move California’s primary from June to the third Tuesday in March. The state Assembly voted to move the primary to the first Tuesday after the first Monday in March. One of the bills must pass both houses and be signed by the governor for the date to change.
Supporters of the bills say the state’s June primary gives California voters less of a say in who becomes president because it occurs so late on the calendar. The state’s 2016 primary occurred after Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton had already become the presumptive nominees for Republican and Democratic parties.
An earlier primary would give Californians greater influence in the presidential nomination decisions, said Assemblyman Kevin Mullin, who authored the Assembly bill.
“California has largely been a non-factor when it comes to selecting candidates,” the San Francisco-area Democrat said. “AB84 will enable more Californians to be politically relevant in presidential election cycles.”