Wednesday, August 22, 2007

AZ's February 5th Primary An Improvement But Disappointing All The Same

State presidential primary to be moved up to Feb. 5, governor's aides confirm

By Matthew Benson

The Arizona Republic

Aug. 22, 2007 12:00 AM

Arizona is joining roughly 20 states with presidential-primary elections or caucuses on Feb. 5, aides of Gov. Janet Napolitano confirmed Tuesday.

Scheduling of the primary is left to the governor, and Napolitano's proclamation moves the election up three weeks from its traditional date on the last Tuesday in February. In 2004, she moved the presidential primary to Feb. 3.

As reported last week by The Arizona Republic, Feb. 5 had been considered the likeliest date for Arizona's primary in 2008, in part because that's the earliest the primary could be scheduled without violating national-party guidelines.

The governor believes Feb. 5 gives Arizona voters the best chance to influence the choice of the Democratic and Republican nominees, said Noah Kroloff, Napolitano's chief of staff.

Arizona's primary now joins what has been dubbed Super Duper Tuesday because of the large number of states at stake that day, including electoral giants such as California and New York.

Will Arizona get lost in the shuffle? Kroloff isn't worried.

"Arizona is a big state," he said. "The Southwest is going to be an absolutely critical part of the presidential campaign cycle. You're going to see a lot of activity here."

No date was without drawbacks in this front-loaded primary season, with states leapfrogging each other to get earlier dates. Had Arizona moved its primary to a date earlier than Feb. 5, the national Democratic and Republican parties threatened to withhold half the state's delegates.

A date later than Feb. 5 carried heavy risks as well, with the likelihood that the two major-party nominees would be all but decided by then.

Nearly half the nation's Republican and Democratic delegates will have been assigned by Feb. 6.

COMMENT: February 5th is far superior to three weeks later but not too much better. The big prizes on Super-Duper Tuesday remain California, New York, Illinois, New Jersey, etc. Moving Arizona one more week ahead would have made us a true battleground in advance of the crush of Super-Duper Tuesday. Now comes word Michigan is going to out-do everyone by jumping into mid-January for its primary. The big threat of not seating delegates at the national convention is so much weak tea. Quick… when was the last time Michigan’s delegates mattered at a national political convention? Florida’s? Arizona’s? They don’t because real voters decide our presidential nominations and have for at least two generations. Florida, and apparently now Michigan, don’t care if their home-grown party hacks… er… delegates have places to rest their bottoms in Denver (Democrats) and Minneapolis (Republicans) next summer. Arizona shouldn’t have either. But February 5th is better than nothing. FQ

No comments: