This is pretty big news:

SACRAMENTO – California jolted the time-tested presidential primary schedule Thursday, moving its 2008 contest to Feb. 5 and setting the stage for a potentially decisive one-day, mega-primary across the country.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed legislation shifting the state into make-or-break prominence from its position as a June straggler in the presidential nominating process.

“Now California is important again in presidential-nominating politics and we will get the respect that California deserves,” Schwarzenegger said during a bill-signing ceremony.

California – and its roughly 17 million registered voters and 55 electoral votes – joins a handful of other states that already have scheduled Feb. 5 primaries.

But 15 other states – including Florida, Illinois, Michigan, New Jersey, New York and Texas – are considering moving their contests to the same day.

The presidential candidates will be locked up on Feb. 5 next year. That means the general election campaign will start on Feb. 6. Gonna be a long year.