California delays its 2012 presidential primary vote

Reporting from Sacramento -- California’s next presidential primary will be one of the last in the nation in 2012 under a law signed Friday by Gov. Jerry Brown.

The move is a reversal of a change lawmakers made leading up to the 2008 presidential election that bumped the state’s primary from late spring to February. Moving the primary earlier was intended to allow the state to play a bigger role in selecting the major party nominees. Historically, by the time California voters weighed in, the nominating process was winding down and the presidential primary fights had already been settled.

In making the change, California is joining other cash-strapped states that have decided to forgo the added cost — and any added attention from presidential candidates and the political press corps — by ceding their early spots on the calendar.

Brown administration officials said the measure would save the state millions of dollars by eliminating an extra statewide election. Instead, the presidential contest will be consolidated with the June statewide legislative primaries.

The bill passed through the Legislature with near unanimous support from both Democrats and Republicans.