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Politics

Tired of being ignored by presidential candidates, California moves primary up to March

California Gov. Jerry Brown (D) signed a bill on Wednesday moving the state's primary elections from June to March, in an attempt to get presidential candidates to spend time campaigning in the state.

The candidates often focus on smaller states that hold early primaries and caucuses, and now, they will "not be able to ignore the largest, most diverse state in the nation as they seek our country's highest office," Secretary of State Alex Padilla said. In 2016, the California presidential primary was held June 7, and in 2020, it's scheduled for March 3, most likely following the Iowa and Nevada caucuses and primaries in New Hampshire and South Carolina, the Los Angeles Times reports.

The bill's author, state Sen. Ricardo Lara (D), said California needs "to have a greater influence at the national level," and the new law also moves the state's congressional and legislative primaries to March. Brown has until Oct. 15 to act on another bill that was passed by the Legislature earlier this month, which keeps presidential candidates who refuse to publicly release their personal tax returns off the ballot.