Nevada GOP not moving caucuses
October 15th, 2011
11:04 AM ET
3 years ago

Nevada GOP not moving caucuses

Las Vegas, Nevada (CNN) - Nevada Republicans aren't budging.

"We're going to stick to our date," Nevada Republican Party chairwoman Amy Tarkanian told CNN Saturday morning, when asked if she would consider moving the party's scheduled caucus date of January 14.

"It's not on the table. The executive board, and myself, are sticking to our date," Tarkanian told CNN's TJ Holmes, in an interview at the Venetian Las Vegas, the site of next Tuesday's Republican presidential debate being put on by CNN and the Western Republican Leadership Conference.

Nevada is locked in a political scheduling fight with New Hampshire, the state that for decades has held the first-in-the-nation primary. State law requires that New Hampshire's primary be held at least one week before a similar contest, and New Hampshire Secretary of State William Gardner has said the Nevada caucuses are similar events.

Iowa has not officially scheduled its caucuses, which traditionally kick of the primary and caucus calendar, but it is widely expected they will be held on January 3, which would box the Granite State in and could force Gardner to follow through on his threat to push New Hampshire's primary to early or mid December.

"The New Hampshire GOP has been fantastic, very supportive. It's the secretary of state who has the end say. We reached out to him and he did not return our calls," says Tarkanian.

CNN has reached out to the New Hampshire secretary of state for comment, but has yet to hear back.

"He said he was going to wait on us. So that's what we did. We picked our date," added Tarkanian, who said the Nevada GOP had several conversations with their New Hampshire counterparts.

"They didn't inform us until it was too late. I don't think it would be fair of us to move again."

Five GOP presidential candidates say they will boycott Nevada's caucuses if the date is not altered to accommodate New Hampshire. The five candidates are Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota, businessman and former Godfather's Pizza CEO Herman Cain, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, former Utah Gov. and former ambassador to China Jon Huntsman, and former Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania.

Huntsman is going a step further by skipping Tuesday's debate. It is another sign he's focusing his campaign on victory in New Hampshire, a make-or-break contest for him in the battle for the Republican presidential nomination.

Saturday, Santorum's team postponed nearly all of his scheduled campaign events in Nevada next week, but said he will take part in the Western Republican Presidential debate.

"While Senator Santorum appreciates the hospitality of the people of Nevada, he is concerned that Nevada's decision encroaches on Iowa and New Hampshire's election calendar and may push them into the Christmas season," said Santorum spokesman Hogan Gidley.

Gidley added that if Nevada refuses to move its date, Santorum will not campaign in the state until after the caucus.

"I hope they change their minds," said Tarkanian, when asked about the possible boycott by the five GOP presidential candidates.

The mad dash to move up the primary and caucus dates was triggered by Florida's announcement two weeks ago that they would hold their primary on Jan. 31. The four states designated by the Republican and Democratic parties to vote first in the race for the White House, Iowa, New Hamsphire, Nevada and South Carolina, all vowed to move their dates up to keep their early status. South Carolina announced that they would hold their primary on Jan. 21 just days before Nevada announced their date.

"We want to have ours on a Saturday, since its a caucus, not a primary," said Tarkanian.

But Iowa, for decades, has held their first in the nation caucus during the week.

Tim Williams, political director for the GOP in Clark County, Nevada's most populous county, says when it comes to logistics, the caucus can be moved, as long as a new date is decided soon.

"It can be done," Williams told CNN, saying that "the main problem is the membership, that they stay involved and know when the date's going to be."

"When we started a couple of months ago to plan for the caucus, we actually set a date at the end of December when we wanted all the planning and logistical stuff done," adds Williams.

–CNN Senior Political Editor Mark Preston contributed to this story

Follow Paul Steinhauser on Twitter: @PSteinhauserCNN


Filed under: 2012 • Nevada
soundoff (30 Responses)
  1. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    The headline should be, "Mittsy Games the System."

    October 15, 2011 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  2. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    This should give Mittsy his early victories, and propel him to the jobs that eluded him for 17 years, acceptance by the republican party and the republican presidential candidate to lose to President Obama.

    October 15, 2011 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  3. vic , nashville ,tn

    Republicans wish is no more 4 years for Obama but nothing is moving on that way . Every thing favorer for president Obama

    October 15, 2011 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  4. GI Joe

    Who cares – it's a caucus - not the general election. Let the crooks, wealthy, and republicans all gather – who cares.

    October 15, 2011 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  5. Kenneth the VI of Minneapolis

    Boycott T.C. Williams...a line from the Movie "Remember The Titans."....why don't the just have them all on the same date, "Super.duper.maxi.Tuesday!

    October 15, 2011 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  6. Beth

    When are we fInally going to stop allowing a very small handful of non-representative states dictate who the primary parties candidates are going to be?!? Who cares if NH's state law says they have to be first ALWAYS? Thats as un-American as it gets. Either have the states take turns in the order of primaries, or have them all go at the same time. Stop letting a small handful of states always get to set the tone for the rest of the country!

    October 15, 2011 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  7. John

    Just like the Republican can't agree on anything. That way Congress can't get anything done. The want to run this country ,but they can't even run there own Party. Just like a lot of American People are saying, the Republican are nothing but Clowns areand they can't control the Circus.

    October 15, 2011 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  8. thomas

    Nevada Republican John Ensign was framed ! Pray for his Pardon , also put in some good words for Tom DeLay.

    Nevada needs water , drill baby drill , support the Mammoth pipeline , Eastern Sierra water means Las Vegas jobs , golf , gaming , !

    Perry / Ensign 2012

    October 15, 2011 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  9. Larry L

    The Republicans can't even resist obstructing their own Party's process. Not a problem... the few rich radicals who actually control the GOP will set the agenda and the mindless socially conservative crowd will follow.

    October 15, 2011 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  10. Bill

    and we are supposed to trust republicans to run the country in 2012, when they can't even police their own parties in the states. They make me puke. I don't know how much longer I can remain a republican. Every now and then they send me a letter for a contribution, and in a weak moment I send in a check. At this point I honestly think the OWS crowd is more organized and in control than the RNC. We do not need to vote in December, and probably not in January. The candidates are not a stellar bunch and are not ready.

    October 15, 2011 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  11. huxley

    They should set their date to "14 days before New Hampshire's GOP caucus". That way New Hampshire can go chase themselves regarding their plan to reschedule to one-up Neveda again.

    October 15, 2011 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  12. logic in LA

    There is nothing wrong with Nevada playing musical chairs on 1/14 or Iowa doing the same. Any real candidate should boycott this farce that allows people to move form room to room or chair to chair or group to group. What happened to one person, one vote? Caucuses are a farce.

    October 15, 2011 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  13. Elizabeth

    Too bad Huntsman just lost a big opportunity to be noticed by boycotting the Nevada debate in protest seemingly for nothing. But it will reap rewards in the long run with New Hampshire voters. Go Jon !!!

    October 15, 2011 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  14. Doug

    Read the comments here on the ticker, yes these are your average Democrat voters. Truly no difference between their brand on National Socialists and the those in Germany in the 1930s.

    Read these Democrat comments, really is their any doubt that if they could put every Republican in American into ovens that they wouldn't jump at the chance? With Obama calling Conservatives the enemy and Biden calling us terrorists, our second amendment right, and the fact that the military is 80% Republican are the only things in the way of these Moore-ons from fulfilling their crazy hate filled Democrat National Socialist fantasy.

    October 15, 2011 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  15. JohnS

    All Blackberry email goes through Blackberry servers. Subpoena Blackberry for the emails.

    October 15, 2011 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  16. Chuk

    GOP, hurry up and lose already!

    October 15, 2011 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  17. GI Joe

    The republicans/baggers in the House voted NO on jobs for us - let's all vote NO one their jobs next year. Let them try unemployment so they can spend their millions in lobbyist money.

    October 15, 2011 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  18. T'sah from Virginia

    The Republicans can't even compromise among themselves!!! That's the MAIN reason why things are not getting done in Washington!!

    Obama 2012

    October 15, 2011 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  19. NVa Native

    One thing you can count on with Repubs – no matter how screwed up their ideas are or how destructive their tactics and policies are they will "stay the course". Like lemmings following each other off a cliff – "just stay the course".
    The trick is to not follow them or their false (fox) idols.

    October 15, 2011 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  20. Jack

    This entire drama will eventually work in favor of republican presidential candidate, giving him more time to focus on presidential run.

    October 15, 2011 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  21. Brad 5013

    I LOVE it when the Righties squabble among themselves . . .

    October 15, 2011 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  22. krissmith777

    It's really pointless to boycott the primary, not to mention counterproductive. The candidates participating will only get less votes because of it.

    October 15, 2011 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  23. B.Bear1

    Just like the college football BSC system, the Presidential primary system is a shiny example of American Exceptionalism. NOT!!! A group of average intelligent high school government students could design a better system-for both issues.

    October 15, 2011 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  24. thomas

    @Doug

    You need to stop reading Newt Gingrich's history of the Third Reich. You will find other more honest reliable information at your public library !

    @JohnS

    It would be nice to have all corospondance from Bush and Cheney regarding ENRON !

    Feb 2, 2002 – Invoking executive privilege, Vice President Dick Cheney refuses to disclose details of meetings he held last year with Enron officials.

    October 15, 2011 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  25. pmk1953

    Why don't the repubs just vote for their next candidates on the national election day. They already start campaigning the next day. Just have your next candidate on the ballot in a special little box and be done with it on election day and leave the rest of us alone for a while.

    October 15, 2011 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
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