New Hampshire primary could be early December
October 12th, 2011
07:15 PM ET
11 years ago

New Hampshire primary could be early December

Keene, New Hampshire (CNN) - In a move that would throw the nomination calendar into further turmoil, New Hampshire Secretary of State Bill Gardner is now threatening to move the state's primary into early or mid-December unless Nevada backs down on its decision to hold its caucus on a mid-January date.

Gardner said in a letter posted on the secretary of state's website Wednesday that Dec. 13 and Dec. 6 are "realistic options" for the first-in-the-nation primary.

The possibility of a December primary is unwelcome among many GOP officials, who worry the primary contest could be overshadowed by the holiday season, as well as many candidates, who want more time to build up support among voters.

Gardner had already said he would move up the state's primary after both Florida and Nevada pushed up the dates of their nominating contests. The Nevada Republican party now plans to hold its caucus Jan. 14.

In the letter posted to his website, Gardner vented his frustration at Nevada officials for forcing him to push up New Hampshire's own primary date.

"It's really up to Nevada," Gardner wrote. "If Nevada does not adjust its caucus date to a later time, I cannot rule out the possibility of a December primary."

New Hampshire election law states its primary must be held at least seven days ahead of any other similar contest.
Gardner made clear in the letter New Hampshire will not hold its primary any date after Jan. 7 to maintain the seven-day window before the Nevada caucus.

Iowa's GOP has tentatively set a date of Jan 3 for its first-in-the-nation caucus, a move Gardner said limited his options further.

The letter also justifies New Hampshire's historic status as the nation's first primary contest. Gardner said several politicians would likely not have become president had they not won over the voters in New Hampshire.

"In a state like New Hampshire, candidates can run without a large staff or heavy advertising and consulting budgets if they have a message, meet directly with voters, and explain why they should be president," he said.

Political insiders have said former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney would be likely to benefit from an earlier primary date because of his widespread name recognition in the state.

Conversely, analysts say an earlier primary could be more difficult for a lesser-known and lesser-funded candidate to win.

Former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman, who is betting on a win in New Hampshire to revive his presidential bid, was asked at a press availability in Keene about the effect on his campaign of a possible December voting date.

"If we keep moving forward in ways that show progress, whether it's in December or January or February, we'll get a wave effect going up," he said, adding his support for New Hampshire's traditional first-in-the-nation primary status. "We ought to everything we need to do to maintain that tradition."

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Filed under: 2012 • New Hampshire • Primary Calendar
soundoff (30 Responses)
  1. logic in LA

    The 2012 election cannot be held in 2011.

    October 12, 2011 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
  2. Squealy

    Why don't we just start the primaries last year. I think there is still time!! 🙂

    October 12, 2011 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  3. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    Noodle Spine Mittens needs an early victory or the brainless sheeple will not vote for him.

    October 12, 2011 07:37 pm at 7:37 pm |
  4. Indy

    Huntsman is the only logical choice for the GOP so he obviously wont win. Republicans would never stand for someone that might help the middle class, so unless Huntsman can come up with a tax plan that further punishes the middle class he will not be the Republican candidate to go up agianst Obama.

    October 12, 2011 07:42 pm at 7:42 pm |
  5. vic , nashville ,tn

    Go New Hampshire

    October 12, 2011 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  6. Rudy NYC

    Don't those dates fall in the middle of college football's championship week?

    October 12, 2011 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  7. T'sah from Virginia

    The Republicans cannot get their primary together just as much as they don't know how to elect in the primary!!! This is so ridiculous. DECEMBER???? There should be a law against this. If this happens with NH – then IA will move it back further!! We will be going through a whole doggone year with primaries!!!

    WHAT ABOUT JOBS????????????????????????????????????? You think Occupy Wall Street is large now – the whole country – MINUS the far-RIGHT and TP, will be marching!!

    October 12, 2011 09:12 pm at 9:12 pm |
  8. Bryan

    This gripping, developing saga reminds me of this one time in elementary school when I was standing in the lunch line on pizza day...

    October 12, 2011 09:13 pm at 9:13 pm |
  9. toocy

    This has got to stop! Figure out some kind of system so states take turns being first and deal with it. We already have a permanent campaign cycle, we don't need extra months of primaries.

    October 12, 2011 09:19 pm at 9:19 pm |
  10. Larry L

    Is New Hampshire one of those tiny, insignificant areas in the Northeast?

    October 12, 2011 10:06 pm at 10:06 pm |
  11. Michael L. DeMoulin

    Florida did not change its acturl primary date (it will still be held in August of 2012). This January 31 presidential primary is for some other reason. The other states who are changing their dates do not really have to at all. I believe that Florida is causing unnecessary panic for other states.

    October 12, 2011 11:59 pm at 11:59 pm |
  12. shane4756

    Has there ever been a more srry group of candidates? These primaries just encourage them.

    October 13, 2011 12:07 am at 12:07 am |
  13. Keith

    Well I guess we can all see how seriously the states are taking these GOP primaries. Pretty strongly representative of the GOP, it would appear. Money first, being a responsible member of society second (at best).

    October 13, 2011 12:18 am at 12:18 am |
  14. Kevin

    This is absolutely ridiculous the 2012 election started on the day after Election 2008... that is 3 years of campaigning.. plus 1 more til the 2012 General Election.. I wish the US election was like the parliamentary(General) election where the candidates have about 1 month to campaign and make their case to the people and then people head to the polls.. in the US its nonstop campaigning...

    October 13, 2011 12:42 am at 12:42 am |
  15. Oldie in TampaBay

    get ready for the GOP flip flop parade! It is almost laughable ... almost!

    October 13, 2011 12:58 am at 12:58 am |
  16. Robert

    Dumb...that's about all this amounts to.

    Somebody needs to call Nevada and remind them that without Las Vegas they are essentially one giant dust bowl with little influence.

    October 13, 2011 12:59 am at 12:59 am |
  17. Jeff

    So, what if some other state sets a law saying their primary will be at least 7 days before any other? Will we see the same reaction as the Amazon bots that sent a textbook on insects into the millions of dollars per copy?

    October 13, 2011 01:26 am at 1:26 am |
  18. brian

    It's long overdue for New Hampshire to be last. Last for a long, long time. The demographics of that state are a pitiful representation of this nation. I don't care that it's a small state and candidates can walk around. Just round robin it or go national.

    October 13, 2011 01:40 am at 1:40 am |
  19. Margaret

    Instead of moving the primaries to December, I think all of them should be moved to 6 months from the election. What are they going to do if somebody moves theirs to November, this keeps up the primaries will be held the day after the election.

    October 13, 2011 02:05 am at 2:05 am |
  20. illmortaldeity

    In the article it states how this would effect lesser known candidates. It is my opinion that the establishment is scared of Ron Paul doing better than expected and is trying to keep him from gaining any more traction with voters.

    October 13, 2011 02:51 am at 2:51 am |
  21. Really?

    "But *I* wanna be first! Me! Me! Me!" ...*impetulantly stomps foot on floor*...

    And people wonder why everyone sees the US politics as nothing much more than a bunch of spoiled kids all wanting their way? Sheesh. The sad thing is, that this pathetic little change/contentsion could be one of those "big things" that everyone will think is more important than the homless, jobs, military spending, education, health care, etc. ...*sigh*...

    October 13, 2011 03:02 am at 3:02 am |
  22. Bill Mosby

    I can see where this is heading- by sometime next week, one or two primaries will be deemed to have been held in August or September, with the outcome determined by, oh, I don't know, the poll results of the period? A coin toss?

    October 13, 2011 04:25 am at 4:25 am |
  23. Craig from Pa.

    Kick-off!!. Politics is nothing more than a glorified game anymore......sorry it has been reduced into a sporting event anymore.

    October 13, 2011 05:04 am at 5:04 am |
  24. Marie MD

    Since campaining has become a 24/7/365 why don't they have the primaries on January of the year the president is sworn in?
    This country is becoming a worldwide joke!

    October 13, 2011 06:29 am at 6:29 am |
  25. James Hawk III

    The primaries ought to be held on a single day. This "who's on first" business with primaries is idiotic. Letting 10% of the states determine 100% of the nominees strikes me as contrary to the goals of the republic.

    October 13, 2011 06:42 am at 6:42 am |
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