The New Jersey state Senate State Government, Wagering, Tourism and Historic Preservation Committee this afternoon voted in favor of legislation to eliminate the Garden state's separate presidential primary, combining it with the state and local primary elections during the first Tuesday in June.
On the discussion of the senate version of the bill (S 2883) Committee Vice Chair Sen. Mark Gordon (D-38th, Fair Lawn) -- a sponsor of the 2005 legislation creating the separate presidential primary -- made the point that part of the motivation for moving the primary in the first place was that such a move would net the state more attention and thus money from candidates and the media. He argued that that potential gain would offset any savings the state would have for eliminating the separate primary.
Senator Shirley Turner (D-15th, Trenton) countered that she had not voted for the 2005 bill and that she was for the elimination of the separate presidential primary, citing the fact that New Jersey has "too many elections". The committee's chair, Senator Jim Whelan (D-2nd, Northfield) came down between Turner and Gordon, having voted for the 2005 measure creating the new election while in the Assembly, but favoring the cost savings ("8 to 10 million bucks") this time around.
Votes were cast on both A 3777 -- the Assembly-passed version -- and S 2883. Both were favorably reported by 4-1 votes with Gordon the only dissenting vote in both cases. The bills will now move to the Senate floor for consideration by the full chamber.
UPDATE: The bills are now off to the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee before going to the floor.