Tennessee Moves Up Primary Date to Feb. 5

Nashville (AP) -- Tennessee has joined several other states in moving up its Presidential Primary to the first Tuesday in February.

Presidential primaries around the country have gradually been pushed earlier over the past two decades. In 1980, only one state held a primary or caucus by the end of February. That number could balloon to more than 30 states by next year.

California, New York and Florida are among a slew of other states that appear headed for a February 5th primary in the 2008 presidential election. Tennessee previously held its primary a week later.

About 486,000 people voted in Tennessee's last Presidential Primary in 2004, while about 2.5 million voted in the general election that year.

The date change passed unanimously in the senate and on a 91-to-2 vote in the House. The bill's main sponsors were Senate Republican Leader Mark Norris of Collierville and House Majority Leader Gary Odom of Nashville.

Governor Bredesen signed the bill into law on Monday.

Copyright 2007 by the Associated Press. All rights reserved.