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Illinois might move presidential primary to help Obama

Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) (UPI file photo/Bill Greenblatt)

By Amanda Vinicky, IL Public Radio

Springfield, Ill. – An effort in Illinois would move that state's presidential primary up in 2008 as a way to help Senator Barack Obama, if he runs.

Illinois voters currently are scheduled pick who they want to be their party's nominee for President in mid-March, 2008.

But House Speaker Mike Madigan, in a speech to lawmakers Wednesday, says states like Iowa and New Hampshire have too much influence in producing a winner.

The Democrat says that's a problem because, unlike Illinois, those states aren't representative of the nation. But more importantly, Madigan says it could hurt Barack Obama if the U.S. Senator decides to run for President.

"If Barack is a candidate, recent history tells us that the selection process might be finished before it reaches the Illinois primary," noted Madigan.

That's why the House Speaker says he'll introduce a proposal that would move Illinois' primary to February 5. He says the switch would only apply in 2008.

Madigan says he doesn't have any inside word. But he predicts Obama will try for the Democratic nomination.

Meanwhile, State Senate President Emil Jones says he's unsure if an earlier primary would help Obama's chances. But Jones adds he'll consider the proposal.

Obama's office didn't respond to requests for his opinion on the issue.


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