PHOENIX — Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer said Friday she would not move up the state's presidential primary by nearly a month, avoiding at least for now a high-profile spat in the Republican Party over the schedule of the 2012 White House race.
The Republican governor told The Associated Press, however, that she'll leave open the option of moving the primary earlier than the current date of Feb. 28, just not as early as Jan. 31.
"Sometime after the 31st is still possible," Brewer said in an interview. "I'm going to keep looking at that, to see what fits our best interests."
She also announced the Republican National Committee has tentatively agreed to schedule one of the debates among GOP presidential candidates in Arizona. Brewer had indicated Thursday that she might back off the plan to move the primary if the state could host a presidential debate.
"It's a big win for Arizona and a big win for America so that we can have our issues discussed," Brewer said in an interview, citing concerns on border security, Medicaid and education. "Now is the time."
Brewer's suggestion that she would move up the primary may have represented "an outrageous first offer" in a bid to get a debate, said Josh Putnam, a visiting assistant professor at Davidson (N.C.) College who monitors and blogs on the scheduling of presidential nominating contests.
"This seems like something of a negotiation," Putnam said.
Brewer said her decision did not hinge on getting a debate, and RNC Chairman Reince Priebus referred to the debate as a "second topic" in a letter to Brewer that also addressed scheduling of the primary.