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2012 PRIMARY CALENDAR: Arizona starts the party – The Washington Post

September 1, 2011

Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer speaks to the media after a ceremony for the groundbreaking for the new Centennial Way to celebrate the upcoming Arizona centennial in 2012, Tuesday, May 17, 2011, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) (Ross D. Franklin – AP) The 2012 presidential primary calendar is about to gel.

2012 primary calendar: Arizona starts the party

08/31/2011

By Aaron Blake

This Saturday is the deadline for Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer (R) to decide whether to move up her state’s primary to January. That decision represents what could be the first shoe to drop in another “front-loading” of the primary calendar that could include contests right after the New Year or even in December 2011.

But Arizona isn’t the only state threatening to crash the presidential party. In fact, there’s plenty of reason to believe some other states could advance their primaries as well.

To help you sort through it all, we’ve prepared a (semi) brief primer of what to watch as the states pick their primary dates.

What are the ground rules?

Four states have the permission of the national committees to hold their primaries and caucuses before March 6: Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada. The Republican National Committee has said that any state that infringes on that quartet’s early status will forfeit half its delegates to the 2012 Republican National Convention in Tampa.

The default setup goes like this:

Feb. 6 – Iowa caucus

Feb. 14 – New Hampshire primary

Feb. 18 – Nevada caucus

Feb. 28 – South Carolina primary

March 6 – Super Tuesday (currently including contests in Colorado, Idaho, Massachusetts, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont and Virginia)

After March 6, other states are free to hold their races at any time. But states with contests in March are required to allot their delegates proportionally, while states with races in April or later can award them all to the winner of their state — a system that (at least in theory) allows for the latter states to more sigificantly influence the nominating process.

via 2012 primary calendar: Arizona starts the party – The Fix – The Washington Post.

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