Advancing the date of Georgia's 1980 primary election, as suggested by a presidential aide, could hurt President Carter's reelection chances, the head of the State Democratic Party said today.
"With the polls what they are today, it possbly could be a hinderance to the president," said Marge Thurman , who heads the state Democratic Party.
Some political observers had said a good showing in his home state and the South would help Carter if Sen. Edward M. Kennedy [D-Mass] should become a candidate.
Carter has not formally announced for reelection. Kennedy has said he will support the president, but many draft-Kennedy groups have sprung up around the country.
Kennedy is considered a favorite in the New Hampshire primary next February 26, and in the Vermont and Massachusetts primaries a week later.
Georgia Gov. George Busbee said Tuesday that presidential aide Hamilton Jordon had suggested to him that the primary be held earlier than it was in 1976, when it fell on May 4.
Thurman said the state's Democrats had discussed having a primary on March 11, to be consistent with neighboring states.
Campaign coordinator Connie Plunkeete said the earlier primary also has been suggested by some members of Carter's reelection committee.
Plunkett, who moved in 1976 from head of the Carter campaign in Georgia to the deputy national campaign director, said "It would be good for the president. It's something some have wanted to do."
But Georgia GOP Chairman Matt Patton of Atlanta said efforts by Carter royalists to advance the date of the primary is "politics in its rankest form."
Patton said, however, that, as a Georgian, he fully supports holding the primary March 4, a week before Alabama and Florida conduct theirs.
"We see those people in New Hampshire, only a handful, exerting a tremendous influence on the election Patton said.
"I believe Georgia should have a significant role in the selection of the next president, and one of the best ways to do it is to have an early presidential primary," he said.
Georgia's primary is set by a committee whose members include the governor, lieutenant governor, house speaker, attorney general, secretary of state and representatives of the two major parties. CAPTION: Picture, Hamilton Jordan, who Governor Busbee said suggested an earlier primary than in 1976. By Ken Feil -- The Washington Post