Plan moves ahead for earlier primary

By Jennifer Mock Published: February 22, 2007
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A bill to move Oklahoma's presidential preference primary up to the last Tuesday in January passed out of subcommittee Wednesday.

The legislation would set the date for Jan. 29, or the same day South Carolina Democrats will hold their primary. If the date is moved, only New Hampshire would have a presidential primary before Oklahoma. Iowa and Nevada would also hold caucuses before the new date.

Oklahoma's primary was moved up to Feb. 5 for the 2004 elections with the goal of attracting more candidates to campaign in the state and give voters more say in the eventual party nominee. This year, several states are looking to move their primary to Feb. 5, as well, prompting state lawmakers to look at an earlier date.

Rep. Trebor Worthen, R-Oklahoma City, authored House Bill 2095. He said moving up the date would ensure Oklahoma voters maintain a pivotal role in the presidential nomination process in 2008.

What they said

In favor: Gov. Brad Henry said he hasn't seen details of the bill, but he supports keeping Oklahoma in the spotlight for the primary season.

Against: State Democratic Party Chairman Lisa Pryor opposes the change. National Democratic and Republican Party officials have threatened sanctions against any state that moves the primary before Feb. 5.

Contributing: Michael McNutt,

Capitol Bureau

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