Presidential primary could move up in La.

Louisiana could be changing the date of its presidential preference primary so it can get a little more attention from candidates.

The Louisiana Legislature sent legislation to Gov. Bobby Jindal that would move the balloting to the first Saturday in March, two weeks before what is set in current law.

State Democratic and Republican parties agreed with the change in a rare move of bipartisanship.

The presidential primary date change was amended into House Bill 431 by the state Senate. The Louisiana House concurred in the expanded bill, sending it to the governor’s desk. There was no opposition.

“It is an example of how Democrats and Republicans can work together to benefit the state of Louisiana,” said state Sen. Karen Carter Peterson, chairwoman of the Louisiana Democratic Party.

“By moving up our primary by two weeks, we are positioning Louisiana as part of the all-important Super Tuesday week,” said Peterson in a statement.

Louisiana Republican Party Chairman Roger Villere said the legislation “enhances our state’s status nationally — something Louisiana Republicans and Democrats can agree on.”

“Louisiana’s diverse population is a cross section of America. We deserve a place at the table as one of the early primary states that will determine our 2016 presidential nominees,” he said in a statement.

Super Tuesday is typically the day that the largest number of states hold presidential primaries or caucuses, making it influential in deciding who the party nominees might be.

It is particularly important for both parties in 2016 when Democratic President Barack Obama cannot run for re-election. Republicans will be trying to reclaim the White House as Democrats try to keep it.

In 2008, some two dozen states or territories held primaries or caucuses.

Four years later, 10 states held contests on the GOP side, with just over 400 delegates at stake.

HB431, sponsored by state Rep. Tim Burns, R-Mandeville, started out fixing a campaign finance reporting problem, then picked up the presidential primary hitchhiker.

Follow Marsha Shuler on Twitter @MarshaShulerCNB. For more coverage of the state capitol, follow Louisiana Politics at http://blogs.theadvocate.com/politicsblog/.