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Dispatches from public radio's correspondent at the Washington Legislature. Austin Jenkins is the Olympia correspondent for the Northwest News Network. You can also see Austin on television as host of TVW's (the C–SPAN of Washington State) weekly public affairs program "Inside Olympia."

Fate Of Washington Presidential Primary May Hinge On Vote To Move It Earlier

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The fate of Washington’s 2016 presidential primary could hinge on a vote Tuesday. That’s when the state’s Presidential Primary Committee will meet to decide whether to move the primary up from May to March.

Republican Secretary of State Kim Wyman is leading the effort to move Washington’s primary to the week after Super Tuesday. She thinks it would make Washington more relevant in the nomination process.

But a state Democratic spokesman said his party opposes the move out of concern a March primary would dilute turnout for the party caucuses later that same month.

For Democrats, the presidential primary is just a beauty contest anyway. They will use the caucuses to select all of their delegates to the national convention. Republicans plan to use the primary results to select half of their convention delegates -- something Democrats say their rules don’t allow.

Moving the date of the Presidential Primary requires a two-thirds vote of the committee. If the effort fails, a spokesman for Wyman said she’s likely to recommend calling off the $11.5 million primary.

Since January 2004, Austin Jenkins has been the Olympia-based political reporter for the Northwest News Network. In that position, Austin covers Northwest politics and public policy, as well as the Washington State Legislature. You can also see Austin on television as host of TVW's (the C–SPAN of Washington State) Emmy-nominated public affairs program "Inside Olympia."