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 BrewerArizona’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.”