California legislators passed a bill Saturday that would move the state’s primary election date up three months, to March, starting with the 2020 election. The bill now heads to Gov. Jerry Brown’s desk, where he is expected to sign it.
If signed into law, having a March primary could dramatically change California’s impact on presidential elections. California would assign its delegates shortly after the early primaries in Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina.
In the past, California has had little influence on presidential elections. An early primary could benefit potential presidential contenders from California.
However, the actual impact of an early primary remains uncertain.
In 2008, in an attempt to garner more influence in the presidential election, the state held a February primary. But more than 20 other states responded by also moving primary dates. In the end, Hillary Clinton won the California primary election but lost the nomination.