Las Vegas, Nevada (CNN) - The Iowa Republican Party on Monday made official what had been expected, announcing that its caucuses will be held on Tuesday, January 3. The state party's central committee on Monday night officially signed off on the date.
The caucuses were originally going to be held in February. But once Florida moved up its primary to January 31, Iowa Republicans said they had no choice but to move up.
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"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 January 3 at our first-in-the-nation caucuses," Iowa Republican Party Chairman Matt Strawn said in a statement.
"A January 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.
Drew Ivers of the Iowa GOP Central Committee explained the Jan. 3 choice "allows us to capture the very first opportunity in the election year for us to caucus"
The caucuses, which require campaigns to mount major organizational efforts, will be held in more than 1,700 locations throughout the state. Caucus-goers must attend a full night of speeches as they cast a series of votes for their presidential choices.
All of this comes as New Hampshire and Nevada are locked in a war of words about when their contests will be held. Nevada has set its caucus for January 14, but New Hampshire Secretary of State Bill Gardner argues that that conflicts with its state requirement that no similar vote can be held within seven days of its primary. Gardner is threatening to move its primary to December.
Ivers said New Hampshire "was very comfortable with us taking the 3rd. So we're keeping our friendly relationship with New Hampshire."
Several candidates have said they will boycott Nevada if the two states don't reach an agreement.
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