Brewer keeps Feb. 28 date for primary

2011-09-13T00:00:00Z Brewer keeps Feb. 28 date for primaryHoward Fischer Capitol Media Services Arizona Daily Star
September 13, 2011 12:00 am  • 

PHOENIX - It's official: Gov. Jan Brewer will not use her power to move up the date when Arizonans choose whom they favor for each party's presidential nominee.

Brewer on Monday signed a proclamation setting the election for Feb. 28 - a move that wasn't legally necessary since state law automatically schedules the vote for the fourth Tuesday in February but gives the governor the power to hold the vote earlier.

But the decision ends fears within the Republican Party that Brewer would cause political chaos, as other states that already are scheduled to go before Arizona would then scramble to keep their position in line.

Gubernatorial press aide Matthew Benson said his boss is satisfied that, even with Arizona following events in Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada, the state will still play a major role in selecting the GOP nominee.

"It gets Arizona in front of the Super Tuesday states," Benson said, referring to primaries on March 6 in Massachusetts, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont and Virginia, with caucuses in Colorado, Idaho and Minnesota.

What Brewer also got when she first considered moving the primary up as early as Jan. 31 was a preliminary commitment from the Republican National Committee to schedule a debate among contenders in Arizona.

Benson said those arrangements are "moving forward," with the Arizona Republican Party reviewing proposals from various media "partners." He said the party will look at what kind of audience a partner could bring and how the debate would be formatted before making a choice. He dismissed questions of whether the party would favor one outlet over another based on a network's perceived political stance or who the network proposes to have moderate the event.

Any date before Feb. 28 would have had ripple effects, potentially pushing South Carolina, New Hampshire and Iowa to move their primary or caucus events to earlier dates.

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