Iowa GOP Leaders Chose The Date For Caucus

Iowa GOP leaders, instead of waiting until they know exactly what date New Hampshire will pick, voted to rein in the calendar chaos by locking in a date for the Republican caucuses here.

Iowa GOP Chairman Matt Strawn said tonight that the actions of early-state newcomer Nevada have exacerbated problems and unnecessarily crowded the January calendar. Photo: Gage Skidmore/Flickr

Iowa Republicans are holding their state’s presidential nominating caucuses on Jan. 3, even though New Hampshire is threatening to move its traditional first-in-the-nation primary into December.

Iowa and New Hampshire, traditionally the one-two-punch that kick off the state-by-state process of selecting a presidential nominee, had already set their dates for February, but a high-stakes reshuffling began when Florida last month broke party rules and leapfrogged ahead.

Chairman Matt Strawn said in a statement tonight: “I will do everything in my power on the (Republican National Committee) to hold Florida accountable for creating this mess, but the culpability for creating a compressed January calendar does not end there.

“The actions of early state newcomer Nevada have also exacerbated this problem and unnecessarily crowded the January calendar. Time remains for Nevada to respect the process, honor tradition and rectify the problem in a way that will restore order to the nomination calendar.”

New Hampshire Secretary of State Bill Gardner has indicated he may set his state’s primary in December to provide enough space between interloping states like Florida, which ignored national party officials by moving its date to Jan. 31, and Nevada– one of the four designated early states in the nominating process that also moved up its date to Jan. 14.

“Nevada could really help solve this problem,” said New Hampshire Republican National Committee man Steve Duprey. “If they were to move 72 hours later – a small change – this problem would go away, and I remain hopeful they might do so.”

“On behalf of over 600,000 Iowa Republicans, I’m excited to announce the first step Iowans will have to replace Barack Obama and his failed presidency will be next Jan.y 3 at our first-in-the-nation Iowa caucuses,” Iowa GOP Chairman Matt Strawn said in a statement.

“A Jan. 3 date provides certainty to the voters, to our presidential candidates, and to the thousands of statewide volunteers who make the caucus process a reflection of the very best of our representative democracy.”

Strawn said the nominating process is best served with Iowa and New Hampshire continuing in their lead-off roles and he has been in close contact with New Hampshire officials and will “wait and see what happens” if an orderly resolution to the unauthorized date shifting is not resolved.

“At a time when more and more Americans feel disconnected from our national leaders, we need places like Iowa and New Hampshire that require those who seek to lead us, actually meet us, look us in the eye and listen to our hopes and concerns for our families and our nation,” Strawn said.

Florida’s decision last month to move its primary to Jan. 31 set off a chain reaction by early-voting states to preserve their leadoff status.

New Hampshire’s chief election official says Nevada’s decision this month to hold caucuses Jan. 14 would crowd the primary, and has threatened to hold his before the holidays.

With Iowa’s date now set for Jan.3, a good date for New Hampshire would be Jan. 10 – a week later, several Iowa GOP central committee members said. But New Hampshire Secretary of State Gardner has rejected that date as long as Nevada’s date remains Jan. 14.

For Iowa, a Jan. 3 date has pros and cons. College students will be away on break. The New Year’s holiday is Monday, Jan. 2, so Iowans facing a backlog when they return to work Jan. 3 might be more prone to skip the caucuses.

However, the date might spare Iowans some attack ads. Voters are in general disinterested in campaign pushes – especially mean-spirited ones – between Dec. 22 and Jan. 3, so the campaigns could choose to run more upbeat advertisements wishing families a happy holiday. That could be good news for the frontrunner, whomever that is come December. [via Huff Post, Iowa Caucuses and Iowa Caucus]

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