The Alabama state House on Thursday passed SB 240, a bill sponsored by Sen. Quinton Ross that moves the state’s two partisan presidential primaries from the summer of 2016 to Super Tuesday on March 1, when Alabama’s delegates will be more actively sought after by presidential candidates.
Ross, a Democrat, had previously called the measure an “an economic stimulus bill” because of the expected increased attention Alabama will receive during the 2016 cycle.
The state is not generally thought of as a great prize by Republican contenders, because the eventual nominee rarely takes the state in a GOP primary and its seven electoral votes have been all but guaranteed to go in the “R” column for decades.
The move is in keeping with a plan, announced last year, to attempt to bring Alabama into the fold as part of a presidential “SEC Primary.” The plan involves fellow Southern states Tennessee and Georgia moving their primary election dates up to the beginning of March as well, which both states have done. Mississippi is also considering a move in the same direction.
The bill passed with approval from both the Alabama Republican Party and the Alabama Democratic Party respectively, who are in agreement that being more relevant in contemporary presidential politics is a boon for the state overall.
Legislative leaders in Arkansas are also currently trying to move up their primary date during an upcoming special session.
Arkansas State Sen. Gary Stubblefield said Wednesday that Gov.Asa Hutchinson has assured him that a March 1 primary bill similar to Ross’ bill that passed the full Legislature Thursday will be on the menu during a Special Session convening Tuesday.