Early Arizona Primary Could Shake up 2012 Presidential Primary Calendar

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The 2012 early primary season- which consists of approved states Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Nevada - could be adding another state to the calendar if Arizona Governor Jan Brewer has her way and moves her state's primary up to January.

"She is leaning towards January 31, a date that would put Arizona toward the front of the primary schedule," Brewer spokesman Matthew Benson told foxnews.com. "She thinks it would be appropriate for voters in this state to really have an opportunity to weigh in on the selection of nominees for president."

Moving the date earlier would force candidates to spend more time campaigning in the state.

"More than anything, she wants to make certain Arizona plays a central role in the nomination process... that they have the ability to see presidential candidates and sell their platforms," said Benson.

Republican National Committee rules say that no state can hold a primary or caucus before March 6, except for Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Nevada. The result of breaking this RNC mandate: losing half of your delegates at the national convention in Tampa next year.

"You have to recognize that losing half of your delegates could be a tremendous issue with how much of a role your state plays in the national election," RNC Communications Director Sean Spicer told foxnews.com.

But that hasn't seemed to worry Brewer.

"There are consequences to moving in advance of March 6, but it is important to keep in mind that our state law gives the governor unilateral authority to move up the primary date," said Benson.

With the current date set for February 28, they are already in violation of RNC rules and would automatically face penalty if nothing changed. "Out of compliance is out of compliance," said Spicer.

In order to comply with the RNC, the governor would have to move the primary back, not forward.

"Moving the primary date backward would require changing state law," said Benson. "It is a possibility. She is weighing the consequences of violating these rules but she is leaning towards moving it up."

If Arizona does move its date earlier, it would cause a change up in the primary calendar.

"There are good reasons for why the RNC has these rules," South Carolina GOP Chairman Chad Connelly told foxnews.com. "The calendar is well spread out and it benefits the candidates."

The RNC is trying to avoid a repeat of the 2008 primary election, when seven states crammed their primaries into the month of January.

"The rules and the calendar were set out by both parties after a two year process, after input was given by all the states after what happened in 2008," said Spicer. "This was approved with overwhelming support so we have to enforce these rules."

Candidates who have already announced their run for the nomination have been focusing most of their efforts in the early primary states. Adding other states to the early primary calendar would force them to re-evaluate their campaign.

"The real problem is for the candidates," said Connelly. "The voters don't get as much opportunity to get out and meet the candidates because it just compresses the calendar when states start to jump dates."

The states that are already approved to hold an early primary or caucus are determined to maintain their spot in line.

"We are going to be the ‘First in the South Presidential Primary,'" said Connelly. "I'll do whatever it takes."

If Brewer does decide to hold the primary on January 31st, she will have to give the RNC 150 days notice, meaning she could have a decision by early September.