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Wednesday, March 21, 2007
New York legislature votes to move up primary
ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) -- The New York legislature overwhelmingly approved a measure Wednesday to move the state's presidential primary up to Feb. 5, a move designed to help its favorite political son and daughter -- Rudy Giuliani and Hillary Rodham Clinton -- in the 2008 race.

Democratic Gov. Eliot Spitzer is expected to sign the measure that would put New York with California and a host of other states opting for the new Super Tuesday showdown.

The New York primary had been set for March 4, but the earlier date was sought by Giuliani, the former New York City mayor, and also supported by Sen. Clinton. The two New Yorkers lead national polls in the race for the Republican and Democratic presidential nominations.

"Changing New York's primary date to February will provide voters with an early voice in the selection of presidential candidates and restore New York's input into choosing the most important office of our democracy," said state Senate Republican Majority Leader Joseph Bruno.

Last week, Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed legislation shifting California's presidential primary date to Feb. 5, a move also being considered by New Jersey and Florida, among others.

In the Republican-led New York Senate, the measure was approved 59-1 with only Ruth Hassell-Thompson, a Bronx Democrat, voting against the measure.

Hassell-Thompson said that while she understood that without the change the presidential candidates "may decide that there's no need to even bother with the state of New York," she also felt "the winter months are just more difficult" for getting voters to the polls.

The measure was approved 123-4 in the Democratic-controlled Assembly.
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