ABC News’ Michael Falcone reports:
Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer announced Friday night that she has decided against holding her state’s presidential primary on Jan. 31, temporarily easing the concerns of GOP leaders around that country that she would throw the primary calendar into chaos.
What she got in exchange is a promise by the Republican National Committee of a GOP presidential debate to be held in her state, which she said would “make certain that the major presidential candidates travel to Arizona, speak with our voters and address issues unique to the Southwest.”
Brewer had been threatening to hold her state’s primary in late January — a violation of national Republican Party rules — and a date that was all but certain to force a quartet of other states (Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina) to push their primaries up in response.
In her statement on Friday, Brewer said she would set Arizona’s primary date, now scheduled for Feb. 28, at a later time.
“Just as important as what I’m announcing today is what I’m not announcing: a formal date for Arizona’s Presidential Preference Election,” she said. “I will for the time being keep my options open.”
Earlier today, ABC News reported that other states — namely South Carolina and Florida — were already sending signals that they might join forces against Brewer if she had picked Jan. 31 for Arizona’s primary.
The current calendar, which is still in a state of flux, has the Iowa Caucuses being held on Feb. 6, the New Hampshire primary on Feb. 14, the Nevada Caucuses on Feb. 18 and the South Carolina primary on Feb. 28. No other state is supposed to hold their primary before Mar. 6 and states that leapfrog ahead face sanctions from the Republican National Committee.
But that calendar is far from finalized as other states continue to jockey for an earlier slot on the nominating timeline. And Brewer could still cause headaches for Republican Party officials who are trying to sort out the timeline of nominating contests.
“Governor Brewer has punted the decision,” said Josh Putnam, a political science professor at Davidson College who follows the primary process.
Putnam said the Arizona Republican faces another series of deadlines throughout the month of September that would still allow her to choose a date before Feb. 28 to hold her state’s primary.
“With whatever date I choose, my goal remains the same as ever,” Brewer said. “To provide Arizona voters the biggest possible platform with which to impact the presidential nomination process.”