Primaries may be pushed to earlier date - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Primaries may be pushed to earlier date

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February 21, 2007

In the last couple of presidential elections, candidates haven't spent much time in Georgia. State lawmakers want to change that. They're considering moving the states presidential primaries up a month from March 4th to February 5th, making those elections more meaningful.

This particular issue crosses party lines. Locals involved politics say moving the presidential primary to an earlier date will give Georgia more influence on who the final candidates for president will be.

John Edwards campaigned in Albany before the 2004 Democratic Presidential primary, but he didn't have much company. Many candidates all but ignored the Peach State. Republican lawmakers say that our state can attract more campaigners if the state's presidential primaries were earlier in the year.

Former Executive Director of the Georgia Democratic Party Tommy Coleman agrees and says an earlier primary will give Georgia, more of a voice on which candidates end up vying for the Presidency.

"It would appear that it would give Georgia a lot more influence, and give the voters of Georgia and opportunity to see a lot more candidates. I think it will be pretty exciting," said Tommy Coleman.

If lawmakers approve the earlier date Georgia will join states such as Arkansas, Delaware, Missouri, Oklahoma, Arizona, and Utah already planning a February 5th primary, creating a National Primary Day.

Former Dougherty County Republican Party Chair Don Cole supports the proposal as well, saying it will bring more voters to the polls, since more candidates will still be in the running.

"If it's done in March, and all of the decisions are already made, then you have a low turnout. People would feel like their vote really doesn't mean a lot. By having it earlier on, they would be a part of the process," said Don Cole.

It's the process in which one presidential candidate from each party will emerge the top runner. And a process in which lawmakers want Georgia voters to have more say.

Other states also looking to move up their primaries to early February include California, Illinois and New Jersey.

Click http://www.politics1.com/p2008.htm to see a list of possible candidates.

Feedback: news@walb.com?subject=EarlyPrimaries/NJ