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Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca, Rudy Giuliani and California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger at Los Angeles County Sheriff Heaquarters, Monterey Park, California, March 5, 2007. Photo by Flap.

Los Angeles Times: Legislature approves early presidential primary for California

The California Legislature today sought to give the nation’s most populous state a greater voice in the race for the White House by moving the state’s presidential primary from June to February.

The Assembly approved the bill 46-28, largely along party lines, and sent it to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who has said he supports the concept.

The effort to move the primary has been cast by its supporters as an attempt to force presidential candidates to campaign in California, rather than merely coming to the state to raise money.

”We need to do this because as long as I can remember California is basically an ATM for presidential candidates,” Assembly Charles M. Calderon, D-Whittier, said during the Assembly debate.

”California is an important state in this union, and we need to be involved in who the next president of the United States is.”

And look who has been in California the past two days, fundraising and stumping for votes – Mayor Rudy Giuliani.

Interesting enough, GOP legislators opposed the move of the primary election from June.

Republicans, who are in the minority in the 80-seat chamber, opposed the measure because it does not guarantee funding for counties that would administer the additional election. A third election is expected to cost California taxpayers an additional $60 million to $90 million.

Even with the state’s presidential primary in February, elections for state and congressional candidates would continue to be held in June, with the general election in November.

Schwarzenegger, who is supportive of an early presidential primary, is waiting to see the final bill before deciding whether to sign it, his spokesman said.

The Governator approves of the move and will sign the bill – after he exacts a legislative redistricting proposal in return for a change in term limits bill that Democrat leaders desire.

Both measures will be on this February 5, 2008 ballot.

And for Rudy – California is in play and he can pretty much wrap up the GOP nomination for President should he sweep Super Tuesday elections in New York, California, Florida, Illinois, Michigan and New Jersey.

But, the fundraising will be onerous to compete in all of those expensive media markets.

Stay tuned……

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