The date of the Iowa Caucuses is set — for Republicans. The Iowa GOP’s state central committee tonight voted unanimously to move the date of the Iowa Republican Party’s Caucuses to Thursday, January 3, 2008.
Chuck Laudner, the executive director of the Republican Party of Iowa, spoke with Radio Iowa moments after the decision was made. "It is set in stone and moving into December was not an option," Laudner said. "…January 3 was the date that worked best from all angles."
Decisions by party officials and legislature in other states, such as Michigan, to schedule primaries and party caucuses earlier in 2008 forced Iowa’s G.O.P. leaders here to move forward the date of their caucuses to retain Iowa’s lead-off status. Many expect New Hampshire’s Secretary of State to move New Hampshire’s Primary to January 8th, so the first week of January seemed the best option according to Laudner.
"There’s a conflict on just about every night of the week, but this one seemed to work the best and ensure that we stay ‘first-in-the-nation’ without going into December," Laudner said.
There may be a conflict for some Iowans on January 3rd, however, as the Orange Bowl is to be played that evening. Launder says his party will likely schedule the kick-off of the Iowa G.O.P’s Caucuses for 6:30 p.m. in order to give die-hard college football fans time to quickly vote for a presidential candidate at their neighborhood caucus and perhaps make it home in time for the Orange Bowl’s 7 p.m. kick-off.
"I imagine that you can probably do both," Laudner said. "You don’t have to travel too far to go to your caucus (and) you can be home in time for kick-off because there’s always, like, an hour of pregame."
Iowa Democrats have traditionally held their precinct caucuses on the same night as Republicans, but Democratic Party leaders in Iowa have yet to decide whether to move the date of their party’s Caucuses, which are presently scheduled for January 14, 2008. The Iowa Democratic Party issued a three-sentence statement Tuesday evening, vaguely saying the party would "decide (its) caucus date based ultimately on what is best for the people of Iowa and the Democratic Party."