Upcoming Arizona primary putting spotlight on state

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by Kristine Harrington

Bio | Email | Follow: @kharrington3tv

azfamily.com

Posted on February 1, 2012 at 6:53 AM

Updated Wednesday, Feb 1 at 7:15 AM

PHOENIX -- While it's winding down for voters in Florida, the preparations are just beginning here in Arizona for our Feb. 28 primary.

There are a number of smaller caucuses between now and then, but both front runners want to win our 29 delegates and that means all eyes on Arizona.

“This is fertile ground for our candidates to come out express who they are and listen to the voters,” said Thomas Morrissey, chairman of the Arizona Republican Party.

It's the reason all eyes are shifting from Florida to Arizona as we up for our presidential preference election Feb. 28.

“We're excited. Of course we're excited to have our candidates here but it also brings a focus on Arizona we don't normally have,” Morrissey said.

Arizona’s election is a winner-take-all contest that has the attention of front runner Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich.

“We've had about 18 debates so far, and they're getting more and more fun as time goes on,” Mitt Romney said while campaigning in Florida. The next debate will be here in Arizona Feb. 22.

“The fact we are the only debate in February brings some prominence to the debate,” Morrissey said.

Sources say that Newt Gingrich is heading straight to Arizona from Florida where he had hoped to bounce back with another win.

“It always comes down a lot to money and how much money Mr. Gingrich is going to be able to raise to compete here in Arizona because it appears he is going to use this state as a firewall last chance to resurrect himself yet another time in this long struggle,” said Dennis Welch with the Arizona Guardian.

And Arizona may be the perfect place for these candidates to set themselves apart from the rest.

“With this coming before Super Tuesday, it will make it really interesting for Arizona to matter,” Welch said.

It's the reason we are already seeing campaign commercials and can expect to see even more.

“We Arizonans deserve this attention and we're going to be an important part of that process that will help one of them get elected,” Morrissey said.

Arizona’s primary is not open to all voters. You need to be a registered member of either the Republican Party or Green Party to vote. The registration deadline has passed with early voting starting later this week.

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