LOS ANGELES, CA – The Armenian National Committee of America – Western Region (ANCA-WR) is closely following the efforts by California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and the State Legislature to move the presidential primary from June to February 2008. The move, if successful, would dramatically increase the national political power held by the California’s growing Armenian American community.
“Armenian American voters are increasingly becoming a force in statewide and local elections in the State of California,” explained ANCA-WR Executive Director Antranig Kzirian. “Clearly, moving the presidential primary date to February of 2008 would bring added national attention to the concerns of our community from both Republicans and Democrats running for the White House,” he added.
Governor Schwarzenegger has argued that California’s June presidential primary makes the state an afterthought for candidates. “What we want to do is make California relevant,” the Governor remarked, complaining that candidates come to California to raise campaign dollars, but campaign in states like Iowa and New Hampshire have earlier elections that often thin the field. According to press reports, the Governor has some support for moving the primary. State Assembly Speaker Fabian Núñez has said he favors the idea.
The State of California, home to the largest Armenian American community in the United States, holds nearly one-eighth of all voters nationwide. By “frontloading” the presidential primary in California, the state would clearly regain an important role in the election of the next U.S. President. For example, in 1968, Bobby Kennedy’s victory in California put him in a solid position to prevail over Hubert Humphrey. In 1976, California gave Ronald Reagan nearly enough momentum to carry him to a floor fight with Gerald Ford at the Republican convention. More recently, the state’s late presidential primary has marginalized the role of California voters.
The Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) is the largest and most influential Armenian American grassroots political organization. Working in coordination with a network of offices, chapters, and supporters throughout the United States and affiliated organizations around the world, the ANCA actively advances the concerns of the Armenian American community on a broad range of issues.