November 21st, 2007
05:12 PM ET
15 years ago

Presidential primary calendar comes into focus with N.H. date

New Hampshire's presidential primary date is now set.

(CNN) - A major piece of the 2008 presidential nominating schedule fell into place Wednesday, when New Hampshire Secretary of State Bill Gardner announced that his state's first-in-the-nation primary will be held Jan. 8, just five days after the Iowa caucuses.

Gardner moved the primary up two weeks, from its initial tentative date of Jan. 22, to put New Hampshire ahead of other states that decided to hold primaries earlier to bolster their influence on the nominating process.

"I'm pleased to announce that another important American tradition will endure," Gardner said. "First and foremost, we were going to preserve the New Hampshire tradition, and this will let us do that."

New Hampshire has held the first spot in the presidential primary calendar since 1920. The distinction is enshrined in state law, and Gardner was authorized to change the date to preserve the Granite State's place at the head of the line.

In 2004, Iowa held its first-in-the-nation precinct caucuses on Jan. 19, followed by New Hampshire's primary on Jan. 27. But both states were forced to move their contests earlier this time to get ahead of other states that moved up their dates.

Iowa's caucuses will now be held on Jan. 3, two days before Wyoming Republicans meet to caucus. New Hampshire's new date puts it a week ahead of Michigan, which scheduled primaries for both parties on Jan. 15.

The Republican National Committee has announced that states that move primaries or caucuses to dates before Feb. 5 will be stripped of half of their allotted delegates to next year's national convention, a penalty that will apply to New Hampshire, Florida, South Carolina, Michigan and Wyoming. However, Iowa and Nevada won't be penalized because their caucuses aren't technically binding on selection of delegates.

Likewise, the Democratic National Committee has said it won't recognize delegates selected in the earlier primaries in Michigan and Florida. However, DNC rules already allowed Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina to hold contests before Feb. 5.

The crush of states moving up their presidential nominating contests will result in a heavily front-loaded calendar next year that will see delegates selected in three dozen states before Valentine's Day.

The biggest bounty will come Feb. 5, when 23 states will hold contests, including a number of large, delegate-rich states such as California, New York, Illinois, New Jersey and Georgia.

Filed under: New Hampshire • Primary Calendar
soundoff (11 Responses)
  1. No Poll Jumping, VT

    Kudos to Bill Gardiner for keeping NH first. Now, if Michigan doesn't pull another stunt, we'll get the caucus and primary in Iowa and NH in order. This tradition has served us well which is more than I can say Michigan's Democrats have.

    To the two Dingells, Levin and Granholm; it's over and you blew it.

    November 21, 2007 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  2. Daniel, NY

    Check this updated January voting calendar, with notes on how the race is shaping up in every one of the January states in both parties. Link.

    November 21, 2007 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  3. Kari Simon, Des Moines IA

    I am having trouble finding the answer to my question regarding Iowa's state law that the Iowa caucuses must be held at least 8 days prior to any other state's event to determine presidential preferences. How will Iowa deal with this? Will the General Assembly be called into special session to change the law?

    November 21, 2007 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  4. Rudy, New York

    It's pretty sad if you're from worthless states like Iowa and New Hampshire, where all you're good for is picking a Presidential candidate every four years.

    November 21, 2007 08:32 pm at 8:32 pm |
  5. Joe, Indianapolis, Indiana

    I don't know whom this benefits on the GOP side. Probably Romney because he is doing strong in all those states. Huckabee, well the press loves him because he is the new guy, but OMG all those ethics issues and tax increases...he peaked too early and he has nowhere to go, but down.

    November 21, 2007 09:19 pm at 9:19 pm |
  6. Dave, Atlanta, GA

    This can't continue. Tradition schamdition. Eventually they will have to come up with a fairer way of determining which states vote first. But NOBODY wants to have a national primary which will only serve to increase the influence on money in politics and entrench the establishment further.

    Ultimately they will have to come up with an early state rotation plan which takes into consideration the size of states and makes sure there aren't several large early voting states.

    November 22, 2007 12:37 am at 12:37 am |
  7. Moe, NY

    I think that all these primaries held in whatever states are obsolete...what purpose do they serve? I should vote the way a state is leaning....naw...never happen!

    November 22, 2007 11:40 pm at 11:40 pm |
  8. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    We should follow the suggestion of someone I don't usually agree with - Newt Gingrich. He said, and I believe, that all of the primaries should be moved back to April or May (I can't recall correctly at this point). The interview was done on October 29, 2007 on All Things Considered. I don't understand why all of the state haven't tried to work this out amongst themselves. We can work it such (as I heard one suggestion) that we maintain tradition with Iowa and New Hampshire in front, but with a rotating schedule of different sections of the country voting at different points. If all of this keeps up, we will be having primaries for one presidential election about 6 months after we finish the previous presidential election cycle. This is getting stupid to start this early!

    November 23, 2007 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  9. Terry, El Paso, TX

    I see no reason for Iowa's and New Hampshire's special places on the election calendar. They certainly don't seem to vote with any special insight. Some sort of rotation or random selection would be better.

    The candidates fall all over themselves praising both states, but that is transparent pandering.

    November 24, 2007 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  10. David - Portland, Oregon

    As America moves closer to a more “liberal” society, our ability to hold regular elections on standardized dates will also diminish.

    For centuries, those countries on the path to electing “liberal” governments continually adjusted the election dates to benefit the “unit” candidates. It is well known that the moving of election dates closer (without a 24 month warning) reduces the campaign time of all grass roots challengers and their ability to properly organize.

    This is how it works; In the year’s prior to an election, the “liberal” movements and their media continually bad mouths the unassuming political groups, whereby the unassuming populous hears mostly the liberal campaign propaganda. Then the “liberals” reduce the campaigning time for the capitalist groups and the amount of time they have to respond to the years of socialist propaganda.

    All “Grass Roots” campaigns need time to organize and plan to get their word out before a stationary election date. Otherwise, the years of socialist of propaganda wins!

    Stop with the moving of election dates, please!

    November 24, 2007 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  11. nana

    I think it is totally unfair that Bill Clinton is running presidential campaigns on behalf of his wife. Now, we see Bill more on the stump than Hillary. They are bullies and doubly ganging up against fresh talent. This is a true representation of what the white House will represent, more of the Clinton days that were knee deep in unethical issues.

    Does the country have to suffer again, from backdoor deals. Let's support Barrack Obama - who brings fresh , unbiased energy to the Nation's capital. The Public are weary from hearing politicians telling them everything the interest groups want to hear.

    Let's jump start this ailing country with new blood by electing Barrack Obama. He will do the country right. He understands clearly what it means to be from humble beginnings yet have a steadfast vision and through hard work, attain his goal. Let's elect Obama for President!

    January 21, 2008 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |