Gov. Janet Napolitano's decision to shift our state's presidential preferential primary to Feb. 5 should give Arizona party voters more choices and influence, and an economic lift.
Making Arizona part of Super-Duper Tuesday — or as we're having fun saying, Über Tuesday — aligns it with about 20 other states, which include our neighbors California, Colorado and New Mexico, with primaries or caucuses on that date.
Arizona's new date, three weeks earlier than in the past, is the earliest that our state could hold its primary without breaking national political party rules. States with primaries before the first Tuesday in February won't get their full complement of delegates at the national convention, Howard Fischer of Capitol Media Services reported in Wednesday's Star.
Tucson attorney Larry Hecker, who is active in community and political issues, said there is a concern that Arizona could get lost in a cluttered Super-Duper Tuesday primary. However, he thinks that the earlier primary will present more candidates to our state's voters. Arizona could have a limited selection with a later primary because candidates will most likely drop out after the earlier caucuses and primaries.
Presidential politics are an influence and economic boon to states.
We see an economic advantage for Arizona. Presidential campaigns spend big bucks advertising and on ancillary costs, such as hotel rooms for campaign workers. There are economies of scale when candidates buy advertising — television, radio, newspapers, direct mail — for large audiences, such as a California-Arizona-New Mexico combo. A later primary could bring fewer candidates with fewer campaign dollars to our state.
We also see more opportunities for candidates to visit the state. A sweep through our area while also visiting California and New Mexico makes logistical sense.
Joining Super-Duper Tuesday should make candidates more mindful of issues important to our state.
One advantage of having candidates visit a state is that they pander to the concerns of that state, Hecker said, which means they have to "know about the state's concerns in order to pander."
The candidates — one of whom will become the nation's chief executive — will have a better grasp of issues facing our state and nation. Immigration could be one of those issues.
Political consultant Carol Zimmerman said that including smaller states could bring their issues to the forefront. Likewise, candidates who are not as well-funded could have more visibility in the Super-Duper Tuesday scenario.
We won't really understand the political and economic impact of the governor's decision until Feb. 6. However, it appears to be a solid, strategic decision that puts Arizona in a positive political posture.