Matt York, File, Associated Press
FILE - In a Tuesday, April 19, 2011 file photo, Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer, R, speaks to the media after the Governor's Volunteer Awards luncheon in Phoenix. Gov. Brewer is expected Friday to decide whether to move up Arizona's 2012 presidential primary to Jan. 31 from the current Feb. 28 date.The change would likely produce a scramble by early primary and caucus states to move their contests to stay at the front end the nominating calendar.

PHOENIX — Gov. Jan Brewer on Friday decided against moving up the state's presidential primary by nearly a month from its current Feb. 28 date, avoiding what could have been a high-profile spat in the Republican Party over the schedule of the 2012 White House election.

The Republican governor told The Associated Press, however, that she still wants to leave open the option of moving the primary to a date later than Jan. 31, but earlier than Feb. 28.

She also said the state has been tentatively allotted a Republican presidential candidates' debate by the Republican National Committee.

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Brewer had indicated Thursday that she might back off the plan to move the primary if Arizona could host a presidential debate.

"I would like an early primary if at all possible. I think that kind of highlights Arizona a lot more," she had said. "But depending on what we can negotiate as far as what's good for Arizona and what's good for the country as a whole ... I'm open."

The decision on changing the date to Jan. 31 was closely watched because it could have created a domino effect in the White House election calendar as other states potentially moved their contests to get ahead of Arizona.