Illinois Primary Moving Back To March; Pat Quinn Expected To Sign Bill

05/17/2010 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Governor Pat Quinn is set to sign legislation Wednesday that will move the Illinois primary back to March, according to a Chicago Tribune report.

The 2010 primary was held on February 2, the earliest date in the nation. It was moved to February in 2008, in what ended up being a successful attempt to give presidential hopeful Barack Obama an early win.

But this year's early primary drew criticism from a number of corners. It's thought to have brought down voter turnout, which was a record low this year. Some argue voters didn't have time to get to know the candidates or the issues; others point out that snowfall across the state on February 2 -- which also depressed turnout -- wouldn't have happened later in the year.

The Tribune report also mentions the Scott Lee Cohen debacle, saying that "the early primary date was partly blamed" for the media's improper vetting of Cohen. The dark-horse winner of the Democrats' nomination for Lieutenant Governor was forced to step down just a few days after the primary, as a maelstrom of ugly accusations surfaced just after his win.

One possible beneficiary of the early primary, NBC Chicago points out, was Governor Quinn himself. He faced a vigorous primary challenge from Comptroller Dan Hynes, who ultimately fell just a few thousand votes short. Hynes ran an aggressive campaign against the governor that made up a 25-point deficit in the polls in just a few months.

"Who knows if Dan Hynes would have been able to best Quinn if he had more time to run witty, damaging ads?" NBC asks.

It's impossible to say what would've happened this year -- with Hynes, Cohen, or the incredibly close Republican governor's race (and could David Hoffman have made a run on Alexi for U.S. Senate?). But next time around, no one will have the excuse of a short campaign season.

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