California is thinking about moving its June presidential primary to Feb. 5, so that voters in the Golden State will have more say in picking the nominees. The national impact could be enormous. But critics say it could result in a candidate that hasn't really been tested.
When it comes to picking presidential candidates, California has nearly the last word — but not in a good way. By the time the state's June primary rolls around, the nominations typically are all wrapped up. That's why California officials want to move the primary, so their state will be more than just the candidates' ATM.
The state, where many fund-raising dinners are scheduled to be held in the coming weeks alone, has tried this approach before. In 1996, California's primary was moved from its traditional June date to late March. It has also tried early March. But in one case, other states also moved their primaries earlier. And in the other, the field was almost decided by the time Californians voted.
In the upcoming races, California may not have Feb. 5 all to itself, either. A few other large states are also thinking of moving up their primary dates.
So California voters may have to share the spotlight. But they'll be content to know that the presidential candidates don't just love them for their money.