Saturday, January 22, 2011

Arizona GOP to Vote on Earlier Presidential Primary

RealClearPolitics - Arizona GOP to Vote on Earlier Presidential Primary

Just when presidential political operatives were beginning to rejoice over the February start of the 2012 GOP presidential primary contests, Arizona is getting ready to throw a wrench in that plan.

The Arizona Republican Party is preparing to pass a resolution Saturday that would bump its primary date to February, when traditional early states like Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and now, Nevada, will hold their nominating contests. The move could touch off a scramble for the early states to go even earlier.

The Republican National Committee passed a new set of rules at its summer meeting in August that set up a tiered system for the primary process and would punish states that try to buck it. States other than the first four would suffer a penalty by holding contests before March 1, 2012.

But the Arizona GOP is willing to suffer the consequences.

"We should go early because we're a good bellwether of the country," Mecum said. "We're willing to break the rules to go early."

The resolution's language reflects that belief and suggests that Arizona's diverse population "deserves to play a meaningful role in the selection of the Republican Party's nominee in 2012." It goes on to note that the state's Republican voters "have a distinguished history of representing the best of Republican values" and calls on GOP Gov. Jan Brewer "to proclaim that Arizona's next presidential preference election shall occur on the first Tuesday in February of 2012."

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