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Alabama not likely to swap primary date for delegates

By Phillip Rawls
Associated Press Writer

MONTGOMERY - Alabama Democrats aren't likely to go along with a proposal at the Democratic National Committee that would give extra convention delegates to states that move back their presidential primaries, the state party chairman said.

At the urging of the state Democratic and Republican parties, the Legislature has moved up Alabama's presidential primary in 2008 from June 3 to Feb. 5. The Rules Committee of the Democratic National Committee has given preliminary approval to a plan that would award additional convention delegates to states that don't move up their primary as Alabama did or that move back their primary after moving it up..

State Chairman Joe Turnham said getting extra convention delegates "pales in comparison" to letting the people have a choice in the primary.

When Alabama's presidential primary was in June, the nominations for both parties were wrapped up before Alabamians went to the polls, and candidates largely ignored the state. Since the Legislature moved up Alabama's primary, several potential candidates from both parties have visited the state.

Under the latest primary schedule, New Hampshire would start the primaries on Jan. 22, followed by South Carolina on Jan. 29. Then Alabama and Arkansas would come one week later. Other states could also pick that week.

Turnham said the DNC came up with the plan for extra delegates to try to prevent large states from moving up their primaries to February. If that were to happen, candidates would focus on the bigger states and others like Alabama wouldn't get much attention, Turnham said.

Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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