New Hampshire Secretary of State Bill Gardner, who has the Absolute Power to set the primary date, had a Must Read yesterday in TheIowaRepublican. Lots of make the case for the small early states, but here's the meat:
IT’S REALLY UP TO NEVADA. If Nevada does not accept a date of Tuesday, January 17th or later for its caucus, it leaves New Hampshire no choice but to consider December of this year. The dates of Tuesday, December 13th, ,and Tuesday, December 6th are realistic options, and we have logistics in place to make either date happen if needed.Translation: He is smart enough to know he can't go into 2011 or push Iowa into 2011 without both states losing first place in 2016. So He wants to push Nevada to the 17th, a week before South Carolina. Frontloading HQ:
First, it possibly demonstrates that the game of chicken with the Iowa GOP is either not going at all or is not going at all well for New Hampshire at the moment. With Nevada Republicans set for January 14 caucuses, that should have settled the score between Nevada and New Hampshire. As FHQ has mentioned, that shifted the process to a battle over the last spot in January between Iowa and New Hampshire. The only outcome that keeps both states in 2012 and is consistent with New Hampshire state law -- that does not also include a Nevada move -- is for New Hampshire to take the January 3 slot and for Iowa to hold caucuses a week later. Either that has been a nonstarter for the Iowa Republican Party or Secretary Gardner has yielded to custom: Iowa first, New Hampshire second. If it is the former, Iowa has essentially called Gardner's bluff on going in December. That the secretary has shifted back to discussing the position of Nevada's Republican caucuses indicates that he does not want to trigger the nuclear option. Again, in the short term, that may keep New Hampshire as the first primary, but in the long term, a December contest blows up the current system or at least puts the privileged positions of the early states on trial.Either way, my tea leaves are still reading January 3 for Iowa.