Trio of Philly lawmakers push for earlier Presidential Primary date in PA
The proposed bill from Reps. Malcolm Kenyatta, Jared Solomon, and Sen. Sharif Street would move up the date from April to March.
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Democratic State Representatives Malcolm Kenyatta and Jared Solomon of Philadelphia, are set to introduce their latest legislative proposal that would move the 2024 presidential primary election date in the state up by one month.
“Pennsylvania will be a pivotal battleground state in 2024 and having the primary election well after many other states already have theirs makes our Commonwealth one of the last states in the nation to weigh in despite being a crucial swing state,” Kenyatta said.
Kenyatta and Solomon will introduce the legislation alongside fellow Philadelphian and Head of the PA Democratic Party, State Senator Sharif Street, who will be presenting mirror legislation in the Senate.
The bill would change the date of the 2024 Presidential Primary to March 19, 2024, rather than late April by which at that point, many states have already voted for a presidential nominee.
“Pennsylvania is a critical battleground in determining the leadership and direction of our nation,” Street said. “It is incumbent upon government and our obligation to enhance the voices of Pennsylvanians in choosing the president. Moving our presidential primary date up by one month gives the voices of Pennsylvanians the weight they deserve.”
Current state law has the primary scheduled for April 23, 2024, by which point, races are generally decided by that late in the primary season, leading to the state’s overall role in choosing candidates to be very diminished.
The lawmakers argue that by moving the date up one month, would then make voters’ picks all the more important, and relevant, adding that they want Pennsylvania voters to have a lot more influence when picking a Presidential nominee.
“Pennsylvania has proved time and time again to be a pivotal state when it comes to elections,” Solomon said. “This legislation will provide Pennsylvania the political weight it deserves by giving us a voice earlier in the process.”
If approved both in the House and Senate, it will make its way to Governor Josh Shapiro’s desk for a final sign off that would schedule the state primary for March 19, 2024.
Success however, is not guaranteed as a similar bill was introduced last year by former state Republican Sen. John Gordner of Columbia County — currently serving as counsel to Senate President Pro Tempore Kim Ward — that unanimously passed in the Senate but ultimately died in the House.
“With an earlier primary, Pennsylvania voters will represent the 'keystone' needed for each candidate to win their party's nomination in 2024 and beyond,” Kenyatta said.
The Keystone State will not want a repeat of the debacle that took place during the previous Presidential primary.
With the country at the time still in the early throes of the COVID-19 pandemic, it led to the suspension of the primary altogether for over two months and when voters returned to make their pick, only two Democratic candidates were left on the ballot, with one having already dropped out of the race months beforehand.
Pennsylvania currently shares the same primary date as neighboring Delaware, Maryland, and Rhode Island and if the bill is approved, would join the likes of Ohio, Arizona, Florida, and Illinois.
The bill could result in implications for state voters as the Presidential election starts to form and we near the campaign cycle.