TRENTON – A bill sponsored by Senator Joseph F. Vitale which would move New Jersey’s presidential primary date to the last Tuesday in February in order to make New Jersey relevant in national elections was signed into law today by Governor Codey.
“The issues facing New Jerseyans every day are the same issues playing out in our nation’s capital, and across the United States,” said Senator Vitale, D-Middlesex. “We are, in so many ways, a microcosm of the larger national picture, and as such, we deserve to have a voice in the national decision-making involved in picking a party’s presidential candidate. In the next presidential election, candidates from both parties will have to discuss the needs of New Jersey if they are going to secure the support of their respective political parties to run.”
The bill, a Senate Committee substitute for S-550, S-1297 and S-2402, would establish a separate presidential primary from New Jersey’s traditional primary date in June, and would set the date for the presidential primary in each presidential election year to the last Tuesday in February. The move would put New Jersey near the front of the pack, requiring presidential candidates to pay more attention to New Jersey’s primary voters.
“In past election cycles, New Jersey was relegated to nothing more than a quick stop for campaign cash, while the party’s nominations were already finalized long before New Jersey voters had a chance to go to the ballot,” said Senator Vitale. “For too long, voters in this State have simply accepted the fact that New Jersey’s voice in national politics would be muted by our last-in-the-nation primary status, but with today’s bill signing, we will once again be a player on the federal political landscape. New Jersey is too important to ignore in the presidential primary, and New Jerseyans deserve to have some say in either party’s standard-bearer seeking the presidency.”
The bill was approved by both the Assembly and the Senate in late June.