Arizona begins primary calendar jockeying
January 21st, 2011
09:21 AM ET
12 years ago

Arizona begins primary calendar jockeying

Washington (CNN) - While most of the 2012 presidential field has been slow to get out of the gate, the jockeying to become an early – and consequential – presidential primary state has already begun.

The Arizona Republican Party is aiming move up its primary date to early February of 2012, in direct defiance of the official calendar approved by the Republican National Committee last summer.

The Arizona GOP has drafted a resolution – widely expected to pass this weekend when it is put to a vote – that would leap-frog Arizona's primary from the spring, when its more likely the nominee will have already been determined, to the earlier date when early voting just begins to gear up.

That will frustrate the national Republican Party, which approved a plan that only permitted Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Nevada to hold contests in February – aiming to avoid a frontloaded primary calendar that will favor well-funded candidates over lesser-known upstarts.

In fact, in an effort to discourage other states from moving up their contest dates, the RNC vowed to punish states that hold February primaries by stripping them of delegates to the national convention. And those that hold contests in March are forced to allocate delegates proportionally based on the percentage of the popular vote – a departure from the winner-take-all model that has been the traditional GOP model.

Of course, it's unclear how serious the RNC will be in enforcing its threats. After all, Democrats faced a similar scenario in 2008 when Michigan and Florida held their primaries ahead of the date sanctioned by the party. Despite months of threats to the contrary, delegates from both states were ultimately seated at the party's convention.

Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer, a Republican, will have the ultimate say in when her state holds its primary.

Filed under: 2012 • Arizona • RNC
soundoff (8 Responses)
  1. T'sah from Virginia

    [Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer, a Republican, will have the ultimate say in when her state holds its primary.]

    "What's in it for me?" will win her vote!!!

    January 21, 2011 09:42 am at 9:42 am |
  2. PalmReader

    "While most of the 2012 presidential field has been slow to get out of the gate,"

    Quite the leaders of the party, aren't they ... all of them (we know who they are) too worried to step up and announce ... too skittish to commit JUST YET in fear of Palin undercutting them once their decisions become final. It's been extremely entertaining to watch.

    January 21, 2011 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  3. Catie

    Unless the Republicans go back to basics they can kiss the party good bye. The Tea Party is the original Republican party, it is basic simple politics. Let people take care of people and Government step in when asked.

    January 21, 2011 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  4. OH YEAH?

    All voters should have a say in the nomination. Primaries in all states should be held on the SAME date. Why should the nominee be determined by 3 or 4 states ????

    January 21, 2011 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  5. disgusted

    LOL. This is gonna be great.

    January 21, 2011 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  6. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    I don't like this pushing everything so far ahead. I would like Iowa and New Hampshire to be the first with their votes being done in February. The next group should be in either the end of February or March with the rest spread over March, April and May. Maybe there should be regional primaries and caucuses or groups done that have a few stated from each region (West, Mid-West, Northeast and South).

    January 21, 2011 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  7. vic nashville tn

    Past one year Arizona GOP is front runner. They make tough laws other state GOP wants to follow them. Let them move the primary date good for tea party candidates

    January 21, 2011 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  8. Joe from CT, not Lieberman

    Of course they are. Hasn't the rest of the country figured out that Arizona is a separate country that only happens to share three borders with the United States and one with Mexico?
    By the way, John McCain could not have legally run for President based on Arizona's new law! He was born outside of the Continental US!

    January 21, 2011 10:55 am at 10:55 am |