The Iowa Democratic Party today joined Democrats in the other three official early contest states -- New Hampshire, Nevada, and South Carolina -- in asking Democratic presidential candidates not to campaign in states that have violated the Democratic National Committee's calendar and scheduled unauthorized early primaries.
UPDATE: Richardson signs pledge first, closely followed by Dodd. The AP reports that Biden has also signed.
The joint letter comes a day after two more developments on the caucus date leapfrog front:
In the joint letter from the Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire and South Carolina parties, candidates are asked to sign the folowing pledge:
I (name), Democratic Candidate for President, pledge I shall not campaign or participate in any state which schedules a presidential election primary or caucus before Feb. 5, 2008, except for the states of Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire and South Carolina, as "campaigning" is defined by rules and regulations of the DNC.
The letter is signed by the four state's Democratic Party chairs and also by Sen. Tom Harkin, Gov. Chet Culver, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada, and Rep. James Clyburn, the top-ranking elected Democrat in South Carolina. None of the elected officials who signed has yet endorsed a candidate.
Thursday Granholm, expecting the move by the official early states, wrote to candidates of both parties asking them not to make such a commitment.
"I strongly urge you not to sign any pledge that would prevent you from campaigning in Michigan," the governor wrote, adding that addressing the manufacturing crisis and unfair trade policies is more important than the politics behind which states get to vote early.
After lengthy negotiations, the DNC chose the four official early states in July 2006 as the only ones allowed to hold nominating contests before February 5, 2008. In addition to Michigan, Florida has jumped ahead of this schedule, as have Republicans in South Carolina and Wyoming.