California Assembly Votes for June Primary

Lawmakers have agreed to return California's primary to its traditional date of June, ending the state's eight-year experiment with a March primary.

The state Assembly approved the measure Monday. The Senate had already approved a return to June voting.

"This would return the primary to the date it appears most Californians would prefer it be left at, which is June," Democratic Assemblyman John Longville said.

The bill, which would take effect for the 2006 election, marks an end to California's hopes that a March primary would give it more clout in nominating presidential candidates.

Lawmakers originally approved a late March primary to influence the 1996 presidential election that produced a race between President Clinton and Bob Dole (search). Lawmakers moved the date to early March in 2000, a date repeated this year.

But supporters of the traditional primary date said other states still beat California to leading roles in picking presidential nominees by moving up their own primaries. This year, 20 states voted before California and nine scheduled their primaries the same day.

To become law, the bill, which contains Assembly amendments, must be approved by the Senate again and be signed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (search) before Sept. 30.