Monday, September 12, 2011

Still Non-Compliant, Arizona's Now Locked into a February 28 Presidential Primary Date

Arizona Governor Jan Brewer today signed a virtually meaningless proclamation establishing a February 28 presidential primary in the Grand Canyon state.1 The proclamation is next to meaningless because the primary was already set on that date based on the existing state elections law. However, it is significant in that it finally puts to rest the idea that Brewer could shift the primary up to a date earlier than February 28. Over this past weekend, the Arizona governor let pass the opportunity to move the primary up to as early as February 7.

But that speculation ends today, though it could have lasted another week and a half. The Arizona primary is now set on February 28, a week before all non-exempt states (Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina) are able to hold primaries or caucuses. Pending potential moves in Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Missouri, New Jersey and Wisconsin, the calendar could now conceivably be squeezed into February. Michigan will also be choosing a date in the February 28-March 6 window. But that is quite a bit of movement between now and the end of the month.

With Arizona locked in, though, the picture gets quite a bit clearer:

January 30: Iowa
February 7: New Hampshire
February 11: Nevada
February 18: South Carolina
February 21: Florida, Georgia
February 28: Arizona, Michigan

No, that doesn't get everything into February, but comes quite close. Nevada and South Carolina could be placed on the same date again in 2012 like in 2008, and move Iowa and New Hampshire into February. Of course, New Hampshire could fall back on its state law requiring a seven day buffer on either side of their primary date; meaning Nevada and South Carolina could crowd New Hampshire on the back end. That said, New Hampshire Secretary of State Bill Gardner may not want to temp fate with the national parties by being a stickler on that buffer.

The RNC is pretty close to getting something very close to its ideal calendar out of this.

1 Here is the press release concerning the presidential primary:

Statement from Governor Jan Brewer
Arizona’s 2012 Presidential Primary 
“Today I signed a proclamation establishing February 28 as the date of Arizona’s 2012 Presidential Preference Election. It has always been a priority of mine to ensure that Arizona and its voters play an influential role in the nomination process, and that Southwestern issues are addressed by the candidates in a meaningful fashion.  I am confident both goals will be realized, given this primary date and the RNC’s preliminary selection of Arizona for a GOP presidential debate. 
“Arizona will be a player in determining our nation’s next president. Over the next 14 months, the candidates would be wise to meet with our voters and become familiar with our issues. Many of these issues – whether illegal immigration, the housing crisis or Medicaid reform – have national implications. 
“Arizona voters will be hearing from the presidential candidates in the months ahead. Now, it is the obligation of voters to make certain that they are educated on the issues when it comes time to
make their voices heard.”

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Anonymous said...

What about Minnesota? They are still sitting there at Feb 7. That would mean that Florida would be Jan 31. Unless you can get them to move back a couple of weeks, that still leaves 5 contests squeezed into January. If Missouri and Wisconsin move and and you can conince Minnesota to move to Feb 21
then maybe you can squeeze Florida
and two of the first 4 contests into February.

Josh Putnam said...

I'll have more on Minnesota either later today or tomorrow. As I've said in the past, it is a question that has not been revisited of late.

...and needs to be.