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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Arizona primary matters now

    Not long ago, Mitt Romney was nearly certain to be the Republican nominee in the 2012 presidential election. Some may still say that’s the case, but they’d have to emphasize the “nearly” much more than the “certain.” A late upset in Iowa and a fairly large victory for Newt Gingrich in South Carolina means the once-stale primaries will have some life in them yet. The primary season, once expected to be a relatively quick affair, seems to be staying for a while longer. That may not be such a bad thing, even for Republicans.

    The staggered primary system has always been relatively unfair. States that vote early get more attention, and therefore more consideration, than their counterparts that vote later. Primaries and caucuses have become a political institution for citizens and candidates alike in places like Iowa and New Hampshire, while other states are often left with whatever these few states decide. Some may say the early states are good enough predictors of the national will, but why rely on a prediction?

    For this primary, at least, its longevity means more states — and more voters — will be able to make their voice heard. Though it’s still far away in political terms, Arizona’s Feb. 28 Republican primary may have an impact. The votes of 29 delegates to the Republican National Convention are at stake in Arizona. Since the winner will take all 29 of those votes with them to the convention, the candidates will surely be vying hard to win in Arizona. In addition, the growing Hispanic population and the recent backlash in the state against Republican causes or politicians — including the recall of Russell Pearce — make Arizona a potential swing state in the general election. Republican candidates would do well to establish a rapport with Arizona voters early for when one of them challenges President Barack Obama.

    The UA College Republicans are a good sample of the type of electorate the candidates will face in Arizona.

    Lauren Bouton, a political science senior and the president of the UA College Republicans, describes the dynamics of the club as, “libertarians, independents, conservatives and moderates.” Each of the candidates has supporters in the club, including several for the unconventional Rep. Ron Paul. However, for all the College Republicans it “comes down to electability,” as Bouton put it.

    This certainly reflects the view of other Republicans nationwide, with the primary goal of many being to unseat Obama from the presidency. Romney still seems to have the edge there, and for that reason will most likely get the nomination. Even if, as many think, Romney is destined to receive the nomination, he and the voters that support him should still relish the longer primary season. He will be a better candidate, and likely more “electable,” if more voters in more states directly help to nominate him.

    — Andrew J. Conlogue is a junior studying philosophy, politics, economics and law. He can be reached at letters@wildcat.arizona.edu or on Twitter via @WildcatOpinions.

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