Ga. Lawmakers Give Authority Over Primary Date to State Sec

Thursday, 21 Apr 2011 01:03 PM

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Georgia lawmakers gave the power to set the state’s presidential primary date to one man so long as it’s between Jan. 31 and June 12, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported Thursday.

It will be up to Secretary of State Brian Kemp to decide if Georgia moves the date up before early primary states as lawmakers in Florida have done.

National Republican Party leaders have threatened Florida with sanctions, such as limiting the number of delegates it can send to the national convention, if the state doesn’t abide by party rules.

On the other hand, Kemp could decide that since the GOP field has been slow to come into focus, a later primary date may be more important. It could give the state more say over who is the eventual GOP nominee. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said last week that because of the late-starting Republican field, state’s holding a later primary could wield more influence.

“I’m keeping my options open,” Kemp told the newspaper. “We’ve been fast growing, we’ve gaining influence” — Georgia has 16 electoral votes now, up from 15 — “and we should be a factor in who the next president will be.”

Kemp has until Dec. 1 to make a call.

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