Michigan’s attempt to move near the front of the pack in the scheduling of presidential primaries hit yet another snag yesterday.

The Republican-controlled Michigan Senate approved a bill aimed at changing state law so a Jan. 15 presidential primary election could clear a legal roadblock. But not enough Democrats supported a procedural vote to give the two-thirds majority needed to allow the new law to take effect in time for the election.

Democrats who control the House don’t appear very interested in resurrecting the early primary. House Speaker Andy Dillon, (D-Redford) said after adjournment Thursday it would be hard to justify the expense of the election now that so many Democratic candidates have pulled themselves off the ballot in Michigan.

Yesterday’s actions might derail efforts to change Michigan law to allow the primary to go forward. The Legislature could meet Tuesday, or its leaders could decide to go ahead with a scheduled two-week break.

The Senate vote came shortly after the national Republican Party announced it will punish five states, including Michigan, for scheduling early nominating contests. Michigan will lose half of their delegates to the national convention, said Mike Duncan, chairman of the Republican National Committee. RNC rules require the punishment for states that hold their nominating contests earlier than Feb. 5.

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