GOP primary calendar in doubt as Arizona threatens move
September 2nd, 2011
11:03 AM ET
10 years ago

GOP primary calendar in doubt as Arizona threatens move

Columbia, South Carolina (CNN) – With the stroke of a pen this weekend, Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer could single-handedly blow up the carefully laid-out Republican presidential primary calendar.

Saturday is the deadline for Brewer to decide whether to move Arizona's 2012 primary up to January 31 in an effort to give her state greater influence in the GOP presidential race. The primary is currently slated for Feb. 28.

But Brewer's move would not only violate Republican National Committee rules that forbid any state other than Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina from holding a primary or caucus before March 6, it would also compel those first four states to move up their own contests to protect their cherished early state status.

Brewer has not showed her hand but said she is keeping all options on the table.

Iowa's GOP chairman Matthew Strawn has already promised to move the caucuses from February 6 into January if another state jumps the line, and New Hampshire Secretary of State Bill Gardner has unilateral power to set his state's primary date, currently Feb. 14.

South Carolina is also planning to have its primary in January instead of February 28 if Arizona decides to move up.

Chad Connelly, South Carolina's GOP Chairman, is also saying that he is working on a deal with Florida to move up their primaries "in tandem."

The move would theoretically give Florida Republicans cover to hold the fifth nominating contest, after South Carolina, even though Florida is not an RNC-sanctioned early state and Gov. Rick Scott has not settled on a final date for their primary.

Connelly told CNN that he hopes the agreement – which Florida Republicans deny is in the works - "ends the drama" and keeps other states from trying to "mess the calendar up."

Along with Florida and Arizona, Georgia, Minnesota, Missouri and Michigan are also considering shaking up the calendar and holding early primaries or caucuses.

But Connelly said Florida, which is currently scheduled to vote on Jan. 31, should go fifth. Other states should wait their turn, he said.

"If they're going to jump in to be more relevant, they're going to be more irrelevant," Connelly said.

Florida GOP spokesman Brian Hughes said there is no effort underway to move their date in tandem with South Carolina.

He said that under Florida law, a nine-person commission has until Oct. 1 to recommend a primary date to the governor. That commission has yet to meet.

"Speculation about some sort of deal about a date in Florida with any other state is not possible," Hughes told CNN. "Until that occurs there is no way that anybody in Florida can talk about a specific date."

Filed under: 2012 • Arizona • GOP • Primary Calendar
soundoff (12 Responses)
  1. A keen observer

    republicans are irrelevant so who cares when they hold their primaries.

    September 2, 2011 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  2. Rudy NYC

    "Stop me if you can. There's no law against it. All that we have is an agreement, and agreements are made to be broken."

    Those words were first uttered by a conservative. Liberal minds simply do not think like that.

    September 2, 2011 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  3. todd

    I never could understand why they simply couldn't make Super Tuesday to be Primary Tuesday. All primaries are on that day. Period.

    September 2, 2011 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  4. rs

    Anyone (especially the Republican party) who can see the "quality" of Arizona's elected officials needs to ensure that Arizona goes dead last in the primaries- otherwise, they'll pick every radical sub-IQ crackpot ot there for office. Pearce, Brewer, Quail, Horne- all make Bachmann look sane, Palin smart and Boehner diplomatic.

    September 2, 2011 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  5. Annie, Atlanta

    You know how to resolve this? A law that puts all the primaries and caucuses on the same day. Make it a national holiday. This "I want my state to have more influence" is nonsense. No one should have more influence – we should all be equal.

    September 2, 2011 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  6. G

    No date will help better the chances of any of those loser candidates.

    September 2, 2011 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  7. Lynda/Minnesota

    Oh, goody. Just what we need, more GOP/TeaPer infighting. Considering not much else is getting done within the Grand Old Party these days - or America for that matter - might just as well sit back, get the popcorn, and enjoy the fireworks. Got any more leadership folks ready in the wings, GOPers, because I have to tell you flat out, this group of GOPer misfits continually being paraded about just aren't cutting it. If y'all can't even get your primary dates in line, how on earth do you expect run the country, especially in these trying times of economic woes y'all are so gleefully jumping over yourselves to point out and take political advantage of. Reading your comments, one would think that there isn't an unemployed Republican to be found in America - the useless, unemployed bums being Democrats and all. Under the circumstances, I can definitely understand the no can do attitude ... those suffering the most aren't one of your own, so why bother.

    September 2, 2011 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  8. A Repulbican

    Then, why not just have them all on the same date, enough is enough!!!

    September 2, 2011 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  9. ThinkAgain

    Do it, Jan!

    September 2, 2011 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  10. Rudy NYC


    Oh, goody. Just what we need, more GOP/TeaPer infighting. Considering not much else is getting done within the Grand Old Party these days – or America for that matter – might just as well sit back, get the popcorn, and enjoy the fireworks.
    I enjoy the shows, too. There's far more excitement on First Street than Pennsylvania Avenue.

    September 2, 2011 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  11. DavidP

    And then somebody will move theirs, and somebody will move theirs, and so on... It's all about attention and that's all politicians care about, getting more attention for themselves... They're ruining our country with their childish games!

    September 2, 2011 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  12. Vigla

    You can't have primaries all on the same day as it would disadvatntage states will lower populations and the candidates will skip those and focus on the big states to get the delegates. It won't work.

    September 2, 2011 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |