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Senate President Michael Waddoups says an effort to move Utah's presidential primary earlier in the year appears to be dead.

Legislative leaders on Tuesday discussed the possibility of moving the primary during an upcoming special session — in large part because it could provide a small boost to help Mitt Romney — but balked at the cost of such a change.

"To invest that much money in a special [primary election] probably isn't the best use of money," said Waddoups, who is a Romney supporter.

Mitt Romney supporters in the body have pushed for an earlier primary, probably sometime in February or March, but it would cost about $3 million to hold such a presidential contest.

Asked if the prospects for the move were dead, Waddoups said, "It appears to be."

Currently, the state's primary is scheduled for June 26, the same day as the primary for other state races.

Moving it earlier in the process could help Romney, who won the 2008 Utah primary with 90 percent of the vote. Polls pitting him against former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman in the state show Romney with a commanding lead.

In June, The Tribune reported that Romney's advisers and supporters in the state were pushing for the earlier primary, believing it would help build momentum if Romney scored an early win.

Currently, the Republican National Committee rules attempt to put up barriers to states leap-frogging to the front of the primary season, but one state after another has moved in that direction.

During a House GOP caucus Wednesday, Rep. David Clark, R-Santa Clara, asked if the state was going to stick with the June date, and House Speaker Becky Lockhart, R-Provo, responded that is the plan.

"So we're back to the same flyover status we had before," Clark said.