Friday, January 21, 2011

More on the Arizona GOP's Potential "Move" This Weekend

Late last night it was reported that the Arizona Republican Party is set to approve a resolution at its meeting in Phoenix this weekend to keep its 2012 presidential primary in February. As we mentioned, though, this is interesting considering it would only take doing nothing in the state legislature to accomplish this. State election law in Arizona already accounts for a primary on the fourth Tuesday in February. The governor, furthermore, can use her proclamation power to move the primary even further up on the calendar to a more competitive date. And since Jan Brewer is still a Republican, this would not seem like too much of a roadblock. [CNN at least reports that Brewer has the final say, but that seems to render meaningless the potential move by the Arizona GOP this weekend.]

Why go the state party resolution route then?

That is the main question and it still not entirely clear to me, but it could have some significant implications at least for Democrats in Arizona if it comes to pass.

If the Arizona Republican Party passes this resolution this weekend, it likely means there will be no action from the legislature on changing the election laws regarding primary timing or who can participate. That lack of action on primary timing means that Democrats will be stuck with the February primary date which would be in violation of the DNC's rules on delegate selection. The alternative for Arizona Democrats is to foot the bill for a caucus (most likely) that will be scheduled at a time that fits the Democratic Party's rules (some time on or after the first Tuesday in March).

Needless to say, this potential move has far-reaching implications not only for the shape the overall primary calendar will have, but for the Democrats in Arizona as well.

CORRECTION: In an earlier version of this post I made mention of Erin McPike's post last night that highlighted an attendant resolution that will also be voted on at the Arizona Republicans' meeting tomorrow. Though it wasn't clear in her piece, I said that the other resolution would close the 2012 presidential primary to all but registered Republicans. This second resolution is all the more curious in that circumstance because the presidential primaries are already closed to all but those registered with a party. Thanks to Richard Winger from Ballot Access News for the clarification. The intent of the subsequent resolution is to impact the primaries for offices other than the presidency. It is a completely separate issue as a result.

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