Missouri Senate backs February presidential primary

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - The Missouri Senate has endorsed legislation setting the state's 2012 presidential primary near the front of the pack - potentially violating Republican and Democratic party rules at aimed preventing a crush of early primaries.

Under state law, Missouri holds presidential primaries on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in February. One state senator introduced a bill this year moving the 2012 primary to early March.

But on Wednesday, the Senate approved an amendment setting Missouri's primary one week after New Hampshire's, traditionally the first in the nation.

New Hampshire hasn't yet scheduled its primary, but the law there requires it be held no later than Feb. 11, 2012. That means Missouri's primary would be held Feb. 18 at the latest.

The legislation needs another Senate vote before going to the House.

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Primary bill is SB282.

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