(Des Moines, IA) Officials from the major political parties in Iowa and New Hampshire conferred by phone Thursday as they struggle to set the dates of campaign events that have traditionally been the opening electoral tests for presidential candidates.
At issue is a decision by New Hampshire’s Secretary of State to set the date of next year’s New Hampshire Primary for February 1. Iowa Republican party officials just two weeks ago set January 31 as the date for their Caucuses.
Such a one-two punch as the opening of the presidential sweepstakes would be impractical, according to Iowa Democratic Party chairman Rob Tully, a participant in Thursday’s private talk among party leaders.
“We’re just going to continue to keep working to try to resolve this,” Tully said.
Democratic National Committee rules require eight days of separation between the Iowa Caucuses and the New Hampshire primary, but the Republican National Committee allows states to set the dates of their primaries and caucuses on their own. That has unleashed a series of moves by states to schedule their electoral contests earlier in the year.
The latest furor was caused by Delaware’s Republican Party chairman who hinted at moving the date for that state’s primary for February 15 to February 8. February 8 is the date New Hampshire officials had planned on, so to ward off the possibility of tandem contests in New Hampshire and Delaware, New Hampshire’s Secretary of State has certified February 1 as the date for his state’s contest.
“There’s no such thing as finality, except in death,” Tully, the Iowa Democrat Party chairman, said of the calendar showdown.
Tully said over the next three days party officials hope to convince Delaware to back down and New Hampshire to backtrack to February 8, thereby preserving Iowa’s Caucus date of January 31.