This is interesting. Alabama will be moving up to February 2nd. For Republicans, it joins South Carolina on that day, although, the article notes that South Carolina may move up. This move up is on the heels of a previous one last year. But calendar compaction is forcing the state to move up.
Legislation last year moved Alabama’s primary to Feb. 5 and got presidential candidates to visit the state after years of ignoring it. With other states joining the Feb. 5 crowd, they decided to move it to an even earlier date so Alabama would "be a player no matter what," said House Minority Leader Mike Hubbard, R-Auburn, who is also chairman of the Alabama Republican Party.
That may be optimistic thinking considering how many bigger states are looking at early February for their primaries.
"When one state moves, another state moves. There is no way Alabama can guarantee itself a critical vote," said Ferrel Guillory, director of the Program on Southern Politics, Media, and Public Life at the University of North Carolina.
These are both states that John McCain has an organizational edge in. I don’t understand who the edge will go to on the Democratic side. For this to succeed, it has to be pushed on a bipartisan basis.
In thinking about the impact of this, it is worth remembering that in 1992, Zell Miller moved up Georgia to help a certain Bill Clinton. Clinton won Georgia a week before "Super Tuesday" and used that momentum to clean up the next week. With a strong likelihood that the nomination will be determined on February 5th, the winner on February 2nd will be important.