Republican [Majority Leader Mark] Norris, who is sponsoring the bill, said it accommodates requests from the Democratic National Committee and the Republican National Committee.
The idea, he said, is to "team up with some other states" to perhaps gain more national attention to the Tennessee primary.
Senate Democratic Leader Jim Kyle of Memphis has a bill, SB1875, which would instead set the presidential primary on the first Tuesday in May. Kyle told the senators he would not oppose the Norris bill, but wanted them to be mindful of the impact of the presidential primary date on local elections.
Most cities and counties set their local primary election dates to coincide with the statewide presidential primary date, since they then avoid having to pay most of the election costs. With a February or March primary, Kyle said, local candidates must file their qualifying petitions in November or December, and some potential challengers to incumbents often do not realize that fact, leaving incumbents with "a free ride."