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Iowa, N.H., S.C., Nevada GOP leaders condemn nomination calendar changes

Republican Party chairmen from the four early nomination states — Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina — joined forces to condemn the efforts by any state to violate national party rules by moving their nomination contests outside of the existing nomination calendar.

The prepared statements issued by each are as follows:

Matt Strawn, Iowa — “The four santioned, early states have been very clear that we will move together, if necessary, to ensure order as outlined in RNC rules. If we are forced to change our dates together, we will.”

Wayne MacDonald, New Hampshire — “The New Hampshire Republican Party is proud to stand with Iowa, Nevada and South Carolina in honoring the rules of the RNC and the laws, traditions and beliefs of our respective states. We recognize that frontloading the political calendar is a disservice to the political process, our candidates and the voters. New Hampshire’s Secretary of State will make sure our state continues to play its critically important role in the presidential nominating process.”

Amy Tarkanian, Nevada — “Nevada remains committed to achieving excellence in our First in the West caucus and we are undeterred by the prospect of moving the date, which we will do if New Hampshire moves theirs, as we are bound by rule to hold our caucus four days after New Hampshire’s primary. Florida’s possible decision to move its primary is disappointing and, frankly, disrespectful of the other early primary states and the process as a whole. Nevada stands proudly with the other early states, Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina in protecting the established process and representing the West. This situation gives Nevadans the opportunity to showcase our ability to adapt and establish our state as a major player in national politics.”

Chad Connelly, South Carolina — “Our four states are committed to protecting the integrity of the 2012 nominating process and we refuse to let rogue states dictate the calendar. Elections held just after New Year hurt voters and candidates by short circuiting the nominating process. Republicans deserve the chance to get to know every candidate. We must choose the right person to defeat Barack Obama.”

In addition to issuing his statement, Connelly also announced a 2012 Presidential Preference Primary Task Force in South Carolina that will “oversee the primary, its fundraising goals, and work to ensure South Carolina’s first-in-the-south primary status in the future.”

Honorary leaders of the group are South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley and U.S. Sens. Jim DeMint and Lindsey Graham, both Republicans. Several national and state lawmakers will also be serving as co-leaders for the project. The committee itself is comprised of several former party chairpersons, former members of Congress, state attorneys and local party leaders.

“South Carolina’s first-in-the-south Republican presidential primary focuses the eyes of the world on our great state,” said Haley. “We could be more excited that once again we have a chance to showcase our state as presidential candidates campaign in every corner of South Carolina and talk face-to-face with our voters and the most important issues facing our country.”

In other calendar news, the Missouri Republican State Central Committee held an emergency meeting on Thursday and voted unanimously to amend its call to convention and move to a caucus system for the 2012 election.

“The Missouri Republican Party is committed to ensuring that the Governor’s veto of the elections bill and the General Assembly’s failure to move our presidential primary will not disrupt the national nominating process,” explained David Cole, chairman of the Missouri Republican Party. “A caucus will continue to protect the rights of Missourians to select the Republican nominee for president — and any self-declared Republican who is registered to vote in Missouri has the ability to participate in the caucus process.”

The Missouri county caucuses are scheduled for March 17, 2012, but no national delegates will be selected at that time. Congressional district conventions are slated for April 12, 2012, where three delegates and alternates to the national convention and one presidential elector will be determined. The delegates and alternates will be required to declare allegiance to a candidate prior to voting and they will be bound to that choice. A state convention will follow on June 12 where 25 at-large delegates and alternates and two presidential electors will be determined. These individuals will also be required to bind themselves to a candidate.

(Editor’s note: This post originally ran under the headline, “Early state GOP chairmen sound off on 2012 calendar,” and has since been updated. Our apologies to Nevada Chairwoman Amy Tarkanian.)

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