Pennsylvania has early primary envy, plots to move up in ’24

January 29, 2020 GMT

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Pennsylvania wants to be a player in the presidential primary, instead of an afterthought.

The state Senate on Wednesday unanimously approved a bill that would move up Pennsylvania’s primary elections in presidential election years by five weeks, starting in 2024, in a state where critics say its presidential primary clout is often diminished by its relatively late vote.

The change would mean holding Pennsylvania’s primary election on the third Tuesday in March in all presidential election years, rather than what current law dictates, the fourth Tuesday in April. The bill goes to the state House of Representatives for consideration.


This year, Pennsylvania’s primary election is April 28, among the last states to vote, despite Pennsylvania’s having the fifth-most pledged delegates in the competitive Democratic presidential nominating contest.

The bill’s sponsor, Sen. John Gordner, R-Columbia, said the change would allow Pennsylvania voters to have a significant say in the outcome of presidential primaries, while not violating any rules of the Democratic National Committee or the Republican National Committee.

This year, Pennsylvania’s primary will be held the same day as those in New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Maryland and Delaware. Arizona, Florida, Ohio and Illinois are holding primary elections this year on the third Tuesday in March.