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Michigan to push up its primary

August 31, 2007|From the Associated Press

LANSING, MICH. — The Michigan Legislature on Thursday approved moving the state's presidential primaries to Jan. 15, just days after national Democrats vowed to punish states that vote too early. Democratic Gov. Jennifer Granholm was expected to sign the bill.

If the primaries are moved up, Michigan Democrats risk losing all their national convention delegates, and Republicans risk losing half.

Seeking to impose discipline on the states, the Democratic National Committee's rules panel voted Saturday not to seat Florida's 210 delegates at the party's nominating convention in Denver next summer unless Florida delayed its primary. Florida Democrats were given 30 days to submit an alternative to the planned Jan. 29 primary.

Michigan GOP Chairman Saul Anuzis said he hoped the Republican National Committee would let Michigan hold its Jan. 15 primary without taking away half the state's delegates to the national convention in Minneapolis. "We understand that we're violating the rules, but it wasn't by choice," because state Democrats were the ones pushing to move the vote up to Jan. 15, Anuzis said. "We're going to ask for forgiveness, and we think . . . we will get forgiveness."

The bill passed the House, 67 to 34, with a mix of Republicans and Democrats voting for it. The Senate approved the House version, 36 to zero, before sending the bill to Granholm.

As a state with a large number of delegates to the nominating conventions, Michigan would command considerable attention from candidates by moving the election to mid-January.

Democratic National Committeewoman Debbie Dingell, who helped push the move to break Iowa and New Hampshire's lock on the earliest presidential contests, said moving Michigan to Jan. 15 would force the presidential candidates to address issues such as the loss of manufacturing jobs and other problems faced by industrial states and the auto industry.

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