- Associated Press - Friday, September 18, 2015

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - North Carolina Republican legislative leaders are ready to move all 2016 primaries - not just the presidential election primary - to March 15.

House Speaker Tim Moore, R-Cleveland, told reporters early Friday there’s consensus with Senate leaders to hold all primary elections on the same date to save expenses and streamline elections.

Senate Rules Chairman Tom Apodaca, R-Henderson, said the shift of all primary elections had overwhelming support from Senate Republicans. Primaries for state races such as governor, U.S. Senate and the legislature are currently set for May.

Republicans already agreed in 2013 to move up Democratic and GOP presidential primaries to wield more early influence, but the current law now has those primaries in late February. National party rules discouraging February primaries threaten to reduce the number of delegates North Carolina would receive for the party conventions that choose the nominees.

North Carolina GOP leaders already have agreed on adjusting the presidential primary date back to March 15 to avoid delegate losses, but legislation would still have to pass to make the adjustment and other broader primary changes.

Apodaca and Moore said still undecided was whether an expected statewide bond referendum should be held in March, too.

The election items are expected to be addressed before the General Assembly adjourns this year’s work session around the end of September.

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