The caucus date drama's not over yet but it's almost time for Iowans to mark calendars. We're going to be Tuesday January 3.
Things moved fast yesterday as the game of chicken between New Hampshire, stubbornly committed to it's "a week before any similar contest" law, and Nevada, the newest of the Official Early States and not as skilled at this brinksmanship. This is going to end with New Hampshire getting Tuesday the 10th with Nevada caving and moving its currently scheduled January 14 caucuses to Tuesday the 17th or Saturday the 21st. My bet is the 17th, which gives them a week after New Hampshire and a week before South Carolina.
Nevada already showed is weakness two weeks ago when state GOP chair Amy Tarkanian flirted, for about 12 hours, with giving up the fight and going AFTER Florida's rulebreaking January 31 date. Both parties also proved in 2008, Nevada's first year as an early state, that their skills at running a caucus were lacking.
And yesterday the date drama finally reached the candidate level:
On Thursday, the campaigns of Jon Huntsman, Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum and Michele Bachmann all said they would boycott Nevada unless its caucus date is changed. Rick Perry, Mitt Romney and Ron Paul said while they respect New Hampshire’s role, they will compete everywhere. Herman Cain’s campaign did not immediately respond to inquiries.Making it even more clear that Nevada's overreach, grabbing January 14 when they could have picked the 17th or 21st and still stayed third, was Mitt-driven.
As for New Hampshire, the GOP state chair was publicly begging Secretary of State Bill Gardner to commit to the 10th. And Frontloading HQ has its usual excellent take.