Massachusetts moved its presidential primary to Feb. 5, joining some
two-dozen states holding contests on what amounts to a mega-primary day.
Gov. Deval Patrick signed a bill Monday to move the state’s
presidential primary from March 4 to Feb. 5, a switch intended to give
Massachusetts voters more clout in the nominating process.
Proponents of the earlier date argued that moving the primary will
ensure that Massachusetts has some clout in a presidential race that
may be all but decided after Super Tuesday.
Critics also said the switch could potentially hurt Republican Mitt
Romney, the former Massachusetts governor running for president.
Changing the Massachusetts primary to the same day as states like New
York, California and Illinois could pose a challenge to Romney, who may
have to expend time and resources in Massachusetts to avoid an
embarrassing loss in his home state.
Several high-profile Republicans in Massachusetts, including former
Gov. Paul Cellucci, are supporting Romney foe Rudy Giuliani.
But Massachusetts supporters of Romney, including former Gov. William
Weld and a majority of Republican state lawmakers, say they are
confident Romney can win the state, and the switch in date will be a
boost to his campaign.
The push to change the day moved through the Massachusetts House and
Senate swiftly. Both chambers gave the bill final passage last week,
forwarding it to Patrick’s desk.