Phoenix, AZ – State law sets the primary for the fourth Tuesday in February. But it allows the governor to move that up to any date she wants. The only requirement is that she give 150 days notice. And if Brewer wants a January 31st vote, that means this weekend. Gubernatorial press aide Matthew Benson said his boss sees some positive aspects of advancing the primary date.
(Gov. Brewer's first priority is to give the voters of Arizona the biggest platform possible with which to influence the presidential nomination this next year. She also wants to make certain that Southwestern issues are heard and dealt with by the presidential candidates.)
Those largely surround the twin subjects of immigration policy and border security where Brewer herself has gained some national attention. But even if the governor does try to jump the gun, that does not mean Arizona will necessarily advance its position. Other states like Florida also are looking at a Jan 31 primary. And as a result, Iowa already may move its caucuses up even earlier, with New Hampshire also weighing how to preserve its first-in-the-nation primary. Benson said it's not a lock that the governor will, in fact, opt to make the change -- especially if the Republican National Committee can provide some trade-offs for the state.
(She hasn't made up her mind and she certainly isn't wed to that date. There are potentially other ways you could give Arizona a larger platform in this process: Obtaining a debate for example would be certainly one way to go about drawing a lot of attention to this state .)
One thing that is not in the equation for Brewer is whether the move will harm the state's role at next year's GOP national convention. Party rules already say any state that jumps ahead of the first week in March loses half of its delegates. And Arizona already is going to face that penalty even if it keeps the Feb. 28th date. For Arizona Public Radio this is Howard Fischer.