Jumping the gun?

California legislators are considering moving the state’s presidential primary ahead of the Nevada caucuses.

Nevada’s caucuses are the third-in-the-nation presidential nominating event and are embraced by the Nevada Democratic Party. Nevada Republicans are cooler on them, seeing them as a project of former U.S. senator Harry Reid.

Only four states—Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina—are permitted to hold nominating events in February of presidential years, when the primary and caucus calender kicks off. The national parties insist there should be two primary and two caucus states, all of them small states to give less moneyed candidates a chance to compete.

In 2008, Florida and Illinois jumped the gun on their nominating events, and they were stripped of half their delegates at the Democratic National Convention.

California’s presidential primary has traditionally been in June, and that late date has sometimes given it make-or-break status. For instance, in 1964, it settled the GOP presidential race, and in 1984, it decided the Democratic race. In 1968, it saw the tragedy of Robert Kennedy reviving his campaign in California after an Oregon loss only to be shot while claiming victory.