Pa. bill calls for earlier presidential primary

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HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – Pennsylvania’s presidential primary would be held a month earlier under a new bill pending in the General Assembly.

Rep. Keith J. Greiner (R-Lancaster) said he introduced legislation Monday to change the presidential primary date from the fourth Tuesday of April to the third Tuesday of March.

Greiner said the move would increase the Commonwealth’s relevancy in the race for the White House and increase voter turnout. He said 28 other states, including the District of Columbia, currently hold their primaries or caucuses before Pennsylvania.

“The lateness of our presidential primary diminishes its significance in determining who will lead our nation,” Greiner said in a statement. “By moving Pennsylvania’s primary to the third Tuesday of March, my bill would restore the Commonwealth’s relevancy in shaping the direction of our country.”

Greiner said his proposal would allow Pennsylvania to hold its primary on the same day as Illinois, Missouri and Florida.

He said the Republican Party would keep its winner-take-all format, meaning the winning candidate would receive every delegate at the nominating convention, and the Democratic Party would be able to keep its current delegate process without any changes.

He added that an earlier primary would have an economic benefit to the state.

“An estimated $7 billion was spent during the 2012 presidential election,” Greiner said. “With an earlier primary, candidates would focus more of their attention – and campaign resources – on winning Pennsylvania in 2016 and years to come. That would mean increased spending on Pennsylvania businesses that provide services to presidential campaigns, including advertising, hotels, restaurants, rental cars and countless other industries.”

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