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Mass. sets date for presidential primary for March 1, 2016

Bill Galvin has a message for those wringing their hands about the seemingly early start to 2016 presidential campaign jockeying: Relax, because it’s right around the corner.

“It’s perfectly logical that they should be running,” the secretary of state said of the national crop of candidates currently angling for position. “Because on this date two years from now, New Hampshire will have already occurred.”

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“New Hampshire,” of course, is the New Hampshire primary, the nation’s first, which comes about week after Iowa’s caucuses. The Massachusetts primary, Galvin said, will take place on March 1.

“Two years from Saturday, we will be picking our candidates for president on both sides, whoever they are,” Galvin said.

Also scheduled to vote on that date, according to Galvin, are Florida, Texas, Tennessee, Maryland, and Vermont.

Galvin conceded that the state’s decision, at his urging, to move the 2008 Massachusetts primary earlier in the calendar was a fumble. States raced to get to the front of the pack that year, reasoning that Hillary Clinton would run away with the contest early on, leaving the later-voting states largely irrelevant.

“We thought it was going to be all over and if we didn’t move forward into February, we’d lost, it would all be over,” Galvin recalled.

No such calendar-tinkering this time around, he said: “To be other than March 1, we’d have to change the law, which is what I have done in previous presidential primaries, which was a mistake in 2008.”

The phrase “lifetime in politics” is a widely used one but for political junkies -- like Galvin -- objects are sometimes closer than they appear.

“We just finished with Romney and Obama and, forget about it, less than 24 months from now, we’re going to be right in the middle of it,” he said.

Jim O’Sullivan can be reached at Jim.OSullivan@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter at @JOSreports.
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