Politics

Georgia becomes second state to delay presidential primary due to coronavirus pandemic

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Key Points
  • Georgia will delay its presidential primary scheduled for next week over concerns surrounding the coronavirus pandemic
  • The state will now hold its presidential primary on May 19 instead of March 24.
  • Louisiana announced Friday it will hold its primary on June 20 instead of April 4.
People vote in the Michigan primary election at Chrysler Elementary School in Detroit, Michigan, on March 10, 2020.
Jeff Kowalsky | AFP | Getty Images

Georgia will delay its presidential primary scheduled for next week over concerns surrounding the coronavirus pandemic, a spokeswoman for the Georgia Democratic Committee confirmed to CNBC. 

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp on Saturday said he was declaring a public health state of emergency in response to a growing number of coronavirus cases. He also encouraged faith-based organizations and similar entities to consider canceling public events and services

The state will now hold its presidential primary on May 19 instead of March 24.

Georgia's decision follows a similar move by Louisiana, which announced Friday it will push back its presidential nominating contests planned for April 4 to June 20.

A spokesperson for the secretary of state's office in Georgia told CNBC Friday when asked whether it would push the primary back, the state shares "a lot of the same concerns Louisiana has." 

No other states have pushed back their primaries yet. Some states have encouraged more voters to cast absentee or mail-in ballots to reduce the risk of the virus spreading.

On Tuesday, Arizona, Florida, Illinois and Ohio, will hold primaries awarding a trove of pledged delegates. 

Other states, including New York, Pennsylvania and Maryland, have primaries scheduled next month. 

The delayed Georgian primary is the latest in a series of disruptions the pandemic caused in the 2020 election.

Leading Democratic candidates, Former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders, have stopped large, in-person campaign events to curb the coronavirus disease's transmission.

President Donald Trump has canceled some upcoming events, including the Republican Jewish Coalition's national meeting this week in Las Vegas.

Trump has taken a test for the coronavirus and the results came back negative. He took the test after the Brazillian president's press secretary tested positive for the disease after attending a gathering at Trump's Mar-a-Lago residence. 

-- CNBC's Jacob Pramuk and Brian Schwartz contributed to this report