The change would spring Maryland from its decision four years ago to join 15 other, mostly Southern states in one mammoth "Super Tuesday" primary that, from the viewpoint of most Maryland politicians, proved to be a disaster.
Nathan Landow, the state Democratic Party chairman, urged the legislature to move the presidential primary to the first Tuesday in March because no other states currently plan to hold their primary that day.
The hope, Mr. Landow said, is that presidential aspirants will pay attention to Maryland voters if the nominee has not yet been chosen and Maryland is the only state with a primary that week.
The legislation, introduced by Delegate Michael R. Gordon, D-Montgomery, and approved without discussion, 114-13, now goes to the Senate.
Mr. Gordon's bill originally proposed moving the primary from Super Tuesday, the second Tuesday in March (next year, March 10), to the second Tuesday in May (next year, May 12).
One reason many legislators and their aides hated the Super Tuesday experience was that it occurred during the annual 90-day legislative session, which made it difficult for them to participate in the campaign.
They did not like the cold weather either, but decided to go with a March primary date rather than one in May because the presidential candidates are likely to be all but selected by then.