2012 nominating calendar already facing uncertainties
Let’s hope Iowans didn’t use ink when they marked Feb. 6, 2012, as their next presidential caucus date.
New Hampshire Secretary of State Bill Gardner may be forced to move that state’s first-in-the-nation primary forward due to a state law that requires the election be held seven days prior to any “similar election.” The calendar approved by the Democratic National Committee, which set the dates for four early events in February, scheduled the Nevada caucus for Feb. 18 — just four days after the New Hampshire primary. Although the Republican National Committee allowed more leeway in their calendar process, allowing the states to select their specific dates after Iowa begins the process no earlier than Feb. 6, the Nevada Republican Party has also set the date of their caucus for Feb. 18.
“This decision will allow Nevada Republicans the opportunity to help select our party’s presidential nominee,” said Nevada GOP Chairman Mark Amodei, who noted that the selection would make the state the “third Republican presidential contest overall and the first in the western U.S.”
According to New Hampshire press reports, Gardner has indicated that if either party holds contests within the seven-day window following his state’s primary that he will be forced to move forward. The rub for Iowa is that a move forward by New Hampshire would most logically place the Granite State’s primary on Tuesday, Feb. 7 — the day following the earliest date set by both parties for the 2012 Iowa caucus. Traditionally, there has been an eight-day pause between the Iowa contests and the New Hampshire primary, although the window shrank in 2008 to prevent a move into December 2007.
With a year to go, Iowa’s two major political parties aren’t willing to adopt a hard-line stance just yet.
“It’s too early to speculate on such a possibility, but Iowa Republicans will do whatever is necessary to preserve our first-in-the-nation caucuses,” Danielle Plogmann, communications director for the Republican Party of Iowa, told The Iowa Independent Thursday morning.
Norm Sterzenbach, executive director of the Iowa Democratic Party, said he and Democratic leaders will also be keeping an eye on calendar developments.
“Every four years states try to jockey for position,” Sterzenbach told The Iowa Independent. “The Iowa Democratic Party will monitor the movements of other states throughout the next year, we will work with the DNC and the RPI to ensure the Iowa caucuses will continue to be first in the nation.”