“For years, California has held its primary well after the decisions on presidential nominees have been made,” said Senate President Pro Tem Don Perata, D-Oakland. “Today, we’re sending a bipartisan message that the nation’s largest state deserves to be more than an ATM for presidential contenders but should also have a voice in who is elected.” Contenders have already begun to grapple with the idea of campaigning in the most populous state and most expensive media market in the nation. Some say an early primary gives the advantage to top-tier candidates with the biggest campaign war chests and highest name ID. But others say that California could offer breakthrough opportunities to underdogs such as Democratic New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, with his Latino heritage, or Nebraska Sen. Chuck Hagel, with his conservative record and clearly defined opposition to the Iraq war. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! SACRAMENTO – The state Senate overwhelmingly approved a bill Tuesday that would move up the state’s 2008 presidential primary to Feb. 5 and provide California with the kind of political clout its supporters argue is befitting the nation’s largest state. The measure, SB 113, was approved on a 31-5 vote, and sent to the Assembly, where it is expected to sail through and onto the desk of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who already has voiced strong support for the idea. California’s presidential primary, which traditionally had been held in June, was moved up to March in 1996, 2000 and 2004, but even then presidential nominees were already in place, muting the state’s voice in the process. The 2008 primary currently is scheduled for June. If moved to Feb. 5, only Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina would hold any primary or caucus before California. However, other states such as New York, New Jersey, Illinois and Florida have talked about moving their primaries up to Feb. 5, which could create a new Super Tuesday, where a cascade of delegates could determine the nominee almost at the outset.