Michigan Plans to Move Primary to Jan. 15

The Michigan State Assembly makes a deal with the State Senate to move Michigan's presidential primary to Jan. 15, in defiance of the two major national parties. Gov. Jennifer Granholm says she'll sign the measure.

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And I'm Robert Siegel.

Michigan has moved its presidential primary to January 15th, a decision that could result in sanctions by the national parties. The state legislature approved the plan this afternoon and Governor Jennifer Granholm says she will quickly sign it into law.

As Michigan Public Radio's Rick Pluta reports, it makes Michigan one of the earliest primary states at least for the moment.

RICK PLUTA: Michigan's primary will fall on January 15th, just a day after the Iowa caucuses are scheduled and a week before New Hampshire. But Iowa and New Hampshire have laws that will require them to move their primary dates even earlier which could start the primary season rolling as early as December. Michigan lawmakers moved the date because they want to boost the state's political influence and get presidential candidates to promise more help from the White House for its struggling manufacturing sector.

State Representative Paul Condino is a Detroit area Democrat.

State Representative PAUL CONDINO (Democrat, Southfield): We have to have those candidates not just focus on how to buy wood-burning stoves or what's best for those folks in New Hampshire, which, traditionally, have had the earliest of the primaries. We need to put Michigan on the map and make sure that those candidates stand up for the issues that are most important to Michigan and its economy.

PLUTA: Michigan's political leaders say the state is more representative of the nation and the issues it's facing than small rural states like Iowa and New Hampshire. Michigan's violating both the Republican's and the Democrat's national party rules for scheduling primaries. Michigan, Florida and any other states that move their primaries into January could face sanctions. But they are betting the national parties will back down rather than risk offending voters in large competitive states.

For NPR News, this is Rick Pluta in Lansing, Michigan.

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