Early Presidential Primary Should Be Paired With State Races Says FTCR
Santa Monica, CA — The nonprofit, nonpartisan Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights (FTCR) called on Governor Schwarzenegger to veto legislation passed by the California Assembly today that will create a $90 million extra election in 2008 as part of a deal to extend the time in office for termed out lawmakers. The bill would move California’s presidential primary to February, allowing politicians including Assembly and Senate leaders Núñez and Perata to run in separate state primaries in June ’08 after a term limits extension initiative appears on the early 2008 ballot.
FTCR urged an amendment to the legislation, SB 113 (Calderon), to keep statewide and presidential primaries on the same ballot.
“If this bill were truly about California’s presidential relevance, it would keep the two primaries together and we’d be discussing term limits as an independent issue. Instead, lame duck politicians are preparing to squeeze $90 million from the public’s purse so they can hold on to their power and perks,” said Carmen Balber, consumer advocate with FTCR. “California’s state and national primaries were on the same early ballot for the last three presidential campaigns. If a February presidential primary is absolutely necessary to preserve California’s political ego, then legislative primaries should be in February too.
Previous early March primaries in 1996, 2000, and 2004 included both presidential and state primaries.
The term limits extension initiative was introduced two weeks ago by a top political consultant to the Assembly Speaker, just two days after the early primary bill cleared the state Senate. The bill was amended by proponents a day later to ensure it would allow Senate Pro Tem Don Perata to return to office for four more years.
“Three elections in one year is a taxpayer boondoggle that only makes sense for the careers of the termed out leaders of the Assembly and Senate who are looking for a job extension,” said Balber.
More than sixteen states have moved, or propose to move, their presidential primaries to February 5 including Illinois, Texas, New York and Florida. Others including South Carolina, Iowa, New Hampshire, and Nevada are scheduled for a week or more ahead. Any primary move made by California is likely to backfire if a large number of states vote at the beginning of the nomination process, said FTCR, due to the high cost of campaigning across the state and the greater number of convention delegates and electoral votes to be won outside of California.
Schwarzenegger disavowed his own 2005 special election after an overwhelming rejection at the polls by California voters.
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The Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights (FTCR) is the state’s leading consumer watchdog group. For more information, visit us on the web at: http://www.ConsumerWatchdog.org.