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Well, this is becoming more of a reality.

You might remember a couple of weeks ago, I was trying to figure out if the state would move up its presidential primary date so that voters would have more clout (at least some clout for a change) in who becomes commander in chief.

I found this interesting for local politics because, if the state moved up the all of the primaries, that would mean that we would vote on all local races at the same time. Meaning, in effect, that we’d be voting on mayor and other positions (including the city attorney) in about a year.

Looks like the state is starting to lean toward splitting the primary up — moving the presidential vote to February and leaving the rest of the state’s primaries in June.

In other words, San Diego County would have to hold three elections in nine months: a presidential primary in February (with additional initiatives on the ballot like the one to let legislators stay in office longer), a primary for local and state elections in June and a general runoff election in November.

Two bills have now hit the Legislature to set that up. Here’s the Los Angeles Times’ story from Saturday:

The state moved all its primaries up to March for the 2004 election, but by then Sen. John F. Kerry had already effectively won the nomination. State candidates rebelled at the change, which lengthened the campaign season, and lawmakers pushed it back to June.

But the new plan would advance only the presidential primary, not the state primaries. Schwarzenegger and legislative leaders are also talking about placing on that February ballot propositions to try to remove politics from the way election districts are drawn, and to alter term limits for state lawmakers. That latter change is a priority for (Assembly Speaker Fabian) Nuñez, who otherwise will be forced out of the Assembly in 2008.

You might remember, I talked to State Sen. Christine Kehoe on Jan. 5 about that idea, and I thought she was right when she said it was wrong to make voters go to the polls twice for primary elections (and pay for them twice).

We’ll see what happens. I’ll try to get in touch with Assemblyman George Plescia, who seems to be leading some efforts to move the presidential primary up and leave the regular state primary in June.

SCOTT LEWIS

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