California is likely to become a major player in the 2020 Presidential primaries after Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill Wednesday to move the date to March.
The so-called “Prime Time Primary Act” moves the statewide primary to the first Tuesday after the first Monday in March for both presidential and non-presidential election years.
California’s primary has traditionally been held in June, at the tail end of the presidential primary schedule, diluting the impact of the state with the largest number of electoral votes.
“Candidates will not be able to ignore the largest, most diverse state in the nation as they seek our country’s highest office,” said Secretary of State Alex Padilla after the signing.
The bill’s principal co-author, Assembly Speaker pro Tem Kevin Mullin, said the change will give Californians “a more powerful voice” in the Presidential primaries.
“Given California is the sixth largest economy in the world, that one out of every eight U.S. voters lives in California, and that we have one of largest and most diverse populations in America, it is only right that our primary election date makes ‘California Count’ when choosing our presidential candidates,” Mullin said.
California last had an early Presidential primary in 2008.