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Cuomo Wants To Move NY Presidential Primary From April To 'Prime' February Date, Reports Say

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo Photo Credit: New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo via Facebook

Governor Andrew Cuomo is reportedly pushing to “upend the presidential primary calendar” by having voters head to the polls in February rather than April.

If Cuomo makes the decision to veto a bill that would set the presidential primary to Tuesday, April 28, it would occur just a few weeks after the Iowa caucuses and New Hampshire primary, which are considered to be “pivotal.”

Cuomo may also approve of moving New York’s legislative primaries for state Senate and Assembly, currently scheduled for June 23, 2020, to coincide with a February presidential primary.

However, officials say that many steps would need to be taken in order to turn this potential plan into a reality.

For starters, lawmakers would have to be called back to Albany for a special legislative session. They would have to vote on the new legislation that establishes a February date for both state and presidential primaries, officials say.

From there, petitioning to get on the ballot would need to start as early as October, officials say.

Some experts say this move could be considered a type of “incumbent protection program,” as an expedited timetable would likely work against the challenging incumbents and favor those who are more established. These incumbents can often get their campaigns up and running more easily.

Officials say that if it's approved, the new timetable may also work better for current lawmakers because it wouldn’t interfere with the legislative calendar as heavily.

This decision, if made, would also likely “rattle” the Democratic National Committee, which has established the early primary states as Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina. New York could be faced with penalties such as a failure to have all of its delegates seated at the convention.

For the most part, officials seem to agree that this plan, though a fascinating idea, is quite unlikely to come to fruition.

"There is no consideration whatsoever to moving legislative and Congressional primaries,” said Mike Whyland, a spokesperson for Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie.

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