In the age of Trump, California Democrats are tired of their state’s votes being an afterthought.
That’s why the state's top election official is pushing to reschedule the California primary to directly follow the early contests in Iowa and New Hampshire — a bid to pump up solidly blue California's clout, and voter turnout, in the 2020 presidential race.
Arguing that the nation’s most populous state should no longer be an “afterthought” in the presidential race, Secretary of State Alex Padilla on Tuesday announced his support for a bill from state Sen. Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens) that would move up the California presidential primary from its current spot near the end of the primary calendar to third — a position currently held by Nevada.
“We need to make California, and California issues, much more of a priority for all people seeking the presidency,’’ Padilla, a Democrat, told POLITICO on Tuesday. With California registration now leading the nation at 19.4 million voters, he said, “it’s going to be great for turnout. ... And it will make California much more relevant.”
The move by Democratic lawmakers — in a state where Democrats control both legislative houses and all statewide offices, and where Hillary Clinton racked up 4 million more votes than Donald Trump — reflects what political observers say is a new strategy as the party looks toward the 2020 presidential election. The bill has a good chance of becoming law, and would potentially change the rhythm of candidates' primary campaign strategies.
Lara’s bill specifically schedules the state presidential primary for the third Tuesday in March, which is traditionally just after the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire primary. The bill would also authorize the governor to shift the date even earlier if other states try to jump the line and move up their own dates.
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