Missouri House members have narrowly approved legislation moving the state's primary elections to June.

Primaries for Congress, the state Legislature and statewide offices now take place in early August in even-numbered years. The bill would move them to the third full week in June.

The House approved the measure Thursday on a vote of 84-67, sending it to the Senate. Eighty-two votes are required to pass legislation out of the House.

Supporters said earlier primaries would give candidates more time to raise money and prepare for general elections. Republicans have had contentious primaries in past elections that left candidates for statewide offices short on cash and bruised.

Opponents argued that holding primaries in June could lead to more campaigning during the legislative session, which ends in mid-May.

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