TRENTON – Lawmakers are considering a bill that would return New Jersey’s February presidential primary to June, when it was held prior to 2005. The state holds primary elections for all other offices on the first Tuesday in June each year.
“When we first moved New Jersey’s presidential primary up six years ago, it was with the intent that New Jersey be more than a fundraising stopover for presidential hopefuls,” said Asm. John Wisniewski (D-Middlesex). “Now, all we are doing is paying $8 to $12 million every four years for the privilege of selecting presidential candidates with fully half of the nation. Moving the primary back to June just makes sense, from both a relevance and economic perspective.”
The bill (A-3777) was released Thursday from the Assembly State Government Committee by a vote of 5 to 0. The measure now heads to the Assembly Speaker, who decides if and when to post it for a floor vote.
Gov. Chris Christie has already spoken favorably about holding the presidential primary later in the year. “The question is, on balance, does New Jersey want to be earlier in the process than June in order to try to have a greater effect on who the presidential nominee this year,” Christie said. “My inclination is to not do it, is to not have two, but to have one.”
The national Republican and Democratic committees are hoping to limit the number of states that hold presidential primaries before March. 1.
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