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Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger just told Newsweek that he wants to see California hold a primary for the presidential candidates in February 2008.

Wow. We may not be dealing with baseless conjecture after all.

From the story:

Schwarzenegger says he’d like to move the California primary from June —when both parties have all but picked their nominees — to a much earlier date, in February. “We shouldn’t be treated as a leftover,” Schwarzenegger told NEWSWEEK while at home in Los Angeles, where he was recovering from a broken leg after a skiing accident.

We have been speculating for the last week or so about the possibilities of a March 2008 primary election and whether or not we would have to tack our local elections onto the early primary election.

If Arnold gets his way, as I’ve said before, we’ll have people running for mayor — and doing all the press conference-type blowharding — within, let’s see, nine months.

How do I figure?

In 2003, Peter Q. Davis basically launched the public race for the 2004 mayoral election in October. A few months before that, you political junkies will remember, a group of local citizens successfully persuaded then-incumbent Mayor Dick Murphy to run for reelection even though he didn’t seem to want to.

So, put that model of a campaign race on this year. We have about nine months before the first shot might be fired in a local mayoral campaign. Ewww. I’m not looking forward to it.

There’s still the thought, of course, that the Legislature might choose to do an early primary for the president and make us go back to the polls in June for mayor and everything else.

That’s the “it’s-not-our-money” proposal.

If Arnold gets his way and if the state tacks the rest of its primary election on a February ballot, it also means that there’s really no reason for Wal-Mart or anyone to force a special election in November 2007 to hold their beloved initiatives. They could wait just a few months longer and put them on the special primary ballot in Feb. 2008.

We’ll see what the Legislature does.

SCOTT LEWIS

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