Des Moines, Iowa (CNN) – The tentative date for Iowa's presidential caucus is Jan. 3, 2012, according to two members of the committee that will formally decide the date.
One member, Drew Ivers, told CNN on Friday that is the "consensus date" of the 18-member Iowa GOP Central Committee. Another member, AJ Spiker, told CNN, "The 3rd will clearly be the date."
"We had a consensus last night. We talked about it, the entire central committee by telephone," Ivers said.
Friday morning Iowa GOP Chairman Matt Strawn told reporters the matter isn't finalized, according to Radio Iowa's Kay Henderson.
"There's been no final decision made, you know, on when the date of the Iowa Caucuses will be. One thing, in discussing it with my committee members last night, we very much want to make sure that we're doing everything possible to keep the Caucuses in January," Strawn said.
Ivers said the group agreed on three broad items.
"The consensus was that Iowa should have our caucuses on January 3rd. The second half of that consensus was we wanted [Iowa GOP Chairman Matt Strawn] to make that public right after the weekend, basically Monday morning," Ivers said.
"And thirdly, we then decided to have a meeting, give a 10-day notice for the meeting as of last night. Which means we could have our meeting on the 16th [of October], which unfortunately is a Sunday. So we might just move it to the 17th and make it official," Ivers added.
The entire Central Committee must formally meet and declare Jan. 3 as the Iowa caucus date before it can be called "official."
Ryan Gough, spokesman for the Iowa GOP stressed that point to CNN.
"There are a couple scenarios that are somewhat obvious," Gough said. "But a date has not been set at this point."
While it's true there is no "official" date, both committee members suggested that's merely a formality.
"Through our insistence the other night, [GOP Chairman Matt Strawn] knows that we support the 3rd as a committee and he can announce it at any time," Spiker said.
"The state central committee sets the date, not the party chairman."
Spiker and Ivers also talked about the logic behind the group's decision to pick Jan. 3.
"The reason we wanted to make that public by Monday is because, we're concerned that New Hampshire would grab that date," Ivers said. "You see – if we would grab 5th or 6th of January, New Hampshire could leap in front of us and grab the 3rd. Because the 3rd is Tuesday. And they usually have their primaries on a Tuesday."
Meanwhile, Spiker likened the move to a precautionary measure.
"There was a clear consensus that to protect our first in the nation status – and to make sure we don't have a caucus in December – that January 3rd was the date," Spiker said.
The date was first reported by the Des Moines Register.
Exactly when Iowa would hold its first in the nation presidential caucus has been the subject of intense speculation. Some had speculated – even feared – that Iowa would hold its contest in December based on laws and traditions in Iowa and New Hampshire.
The political calendar hopscotch started after Florida leaped ahead and announced it would violate Republican National Committee rules – and hold its primary on January 31, 2012.
The four states allowed to hold the first presidential contests – Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina – jumped into the scheduling fray. South Carolina announced its primary would be Jan. 21 and Nevada announced its contest would be Jan. 14.
–CNN's Paul Steinhauser and Rachel Streitfeld contributed to this report
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