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Why are Michele Bachmann and Mitt Romney campaigning early in Arizona?

Mitt Romney and Michele Bachmann were both in Arizona Wednesday, wooing voters and endorsements. Arizona's primary isn't among the earliest, but the state may yet prove to be pivotal.

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Republican presidential candidate Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., answers questions regarding illegal immigration issues during a news conference in Phoenix with Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio at his office on Wednesday.

Paul Connors/AP

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Beyond Iowa, beyond New Hampshire, beyond Nevada, South Carolina, and Florida, there's the Arizona primary. Two Republican presidential candidates – former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota – campaigned in the state Wednesday, wooing voters and building an organization – even though Arizona has decided not to move its primary to an earlier spot on the GOP nominating calendar.

Why Arizona now? It's possible that Arizona's primary on Feb. 28, a week before Super Tuesday, still comes early enough to play a pivotal role in determining the Republican nominee. That could happen if, as some political analysts predict, the first group of nominating contests does not establish a clear leader.

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