Will first votes for 2012 start in 2011?
October 6th, 2011
11:01 AM ET
11 years ago

Will first votes for 2012 start in 2011?

(CNN) - Iowa's Republican Party chairman doesn't sound enthusiastic about holding his state's caucuses in December.

Matt Strawn says it's "better for process, better for the voters, better for the candidates. if the process starts in January."

The Republican Party of Iowa chairman made his comments Thursday morning in an interview on MSNBC.

Iowa's caucuses traditionally lead of the presidential primary and caucus calendar, with New Hampshire, which for decades has held the first-in-the-nation primary, coming second.

Last Friday, Florida announced that they would hold their primary on January 31. All four of the designated early voting states, Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Nevada, vowed to move up the dates of their contests.

South Carolina, which traditionally holds the first southern contest in the race for the White House, was first to announce a date. Earlier this week they said they would hold their primary on January 21. Wednesday night Nevada Republicans announced their caucus will be held on January 14.

All eyes are now on Iowa and New Hampshire, which by statue requires the state to hold its primary at least seven days before any other state's contest. Last week, before Nevada's announcement, New Hampshire Secretary of State Bill Gardner told CNN that the Granite State primary "won't be four days ahead of Nevada."

If Gardner wants to keep New Hampshire's contest seven days ahead of Nevada, and hold the primary on a Tuesday, where it's traditionally been held, Tuesday January 3 may be his only option. That could force Iowa to move its caucus to December.

While Strawn did not rule out holding a caucus in December, he appeared to be learning towards January. He also added that he would be comfortable with a five day window between the Iowa caucus and the New Hampshire primary, as was the case in 2008.

Thursday morning Gardner told CNN he doesn't expect to set the first-in-the-nation primary date before the state's filing period begins on Oct. 17.

"This is early to be setting a date," Gardner said.

Last election cycle, faced with similar moves by other states to move up in the primary and caucus calendar, Gardner waited to announce New Hampshire's primary date until Nov. 21.

But Strawn indicated that Iowa can't wait that long, saying that "Iowa can't not necessarily wait now for New Hampshire to set a date."

Strawn said he might have to announce his state's caucus date by November 1.

Filed under: 2012 • Iowa
soundoff (7 Responses)
  1. logic in LA

    Why not do the democratic process and actually hold a VOTE instead of this farce called a caucus?
    Too few people participate, those that do can change their minds 2 or 3 times on a candidate- it's a joke.
    Why not hold it this weekend and put us out of the misery of listening to news broadcasts about it?

    October 6, 2011 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  2. Rudy NYC

    Republicans have goofed up the economy. They have goofed up the recovery. Now they have goofed up their own primaries. That takes talent.

    October 6, 2011 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  3. johnmenacherjr

    God save us all this is just way to much! Spread the tarp in fornt of your TV and let the manure fly out! I cant beleive it!

    October 6, 2011 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  4. Randy

    Primary's could be done over a 10 week period. First week the 5 least populated states hold primaries. Candidates pick and chose which of those 5 to campaign in. Second week the next least populated, and so on and so on. This keeps states like Rhode Island from having to compete with California for time. Every state becomes just as important as the others for the week they are holding the primary. Too bad this makes too much sense, and no body would go for it.

    October 6, 2011 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  5. Rudy NYC

    logic in LA asked:
    Why not do the democratic process and actually hold a VOTE instead of this farce called a caucus?
    The short answer is tradition and fairness. Once upon a time, it used to take 3-5 days to travel from Philadelphia to New York City, a trip that can be made in 2 hours in a car. It used to take months for candidates to travel to all states and introduce themselves to voters. That is why the primary season is so long.

    If we didn't have primaries, then candidates would do exactly what they do after their national political conventions. They would ignore the smaller states and focus on the larger "big ticket" states. The primary process gives the smaller states more importance than what they would otherwise not have.

    October 6, 2011 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  6. Kenny K

    Now they should be able to see why there is need for central coordination in every process, whether government, public organization or private organization.

    October 6, 2011 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  7. Rudy NYC

    Kenny K suggested:
    Now they should be able to see why there is need for central coordination in every process, whether government, public organization or private organization.
    There is central coordination in this process. This particular process is run by the Republican National Committee. The problem is that the Republicans do not want to play by the rules, not even their own rules that they have previously agreed upon.

    October 6, 2011 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |