Bill keeping March presidential primary heads to governor

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) Arkansas is poised to keep its presidential primary in March and hold its nominating contests in May during non-presidential years.

The House on Tuesday voted 74-8 to make permanent the decision to hold the primaries on the first Tuesday in March in presidential election years. The measure would keep the primaries in non-presidential years in late May. The five members of the House North Central delegation, Representatives Nelda Speaks of Mountain Home, Jack Fortner of Yellville, John Payton of Wilburn, Michelle Gray of Melbourne and Marsh Davis of Cherokee Village, all supported the measure.

The bill now heads to Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson, and his staff says he supports the measure.

Arkansas temporarily moved its presidential primary for the 2016 election to March, and supporters say the earlier primary helped attract more candidates to the state.

The proposal will also move legislative sessions in presidential primary years from February to April.

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