(Des Moines, IA) Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack Monday said it’s now up to national party leaders and the New Hampshire legislature to resolve the chaos created by scheduling New Hampshire’s primary the day after Iowa’s Caucuses.
New Hampshire’s Secretary of State is unwilling to back away from his decision to set February 1, 2000, as the date for New Hampshire’s primary. Iowa’s Caucuses are scheduled the day before, on January 31.
“You cannot have a maverick situation like this, in my view, it just creates a chaotic situation and that’s one thing you don’t need,” Vilsack said at a news conference staged in his statehouse office.
Vilsack talked by phone Monday with New Hampshire Governor Jeanne Shaheen, and he said she expressed frustration about the situation, indicating New Hampshire’s legislature may act this fall when it meets to discuss an unrelated issue.
“This unilateral decision by a single individual in New Hampshire threatens that opportunity for Iowa and New Hampshire to establish and to continue its first-in-the-nation status in the future,” Vilsack said.
Iowa’s Caucuses and New Hampshire’s primary have been the kick-off, “first-in-the-nation” events in presidential campaigns for the past two decades. Vilsack said having the dates of the states’ events back-to-back would create an additional burden for candidates who’ll have to try to be in both states at once.
Reporters asked Vilsack if party leaders in Iowa would consider moving the date of Iowa’s Caucuses to January 24 or before.
“I’m not even going to answer that question because as far as I’m concerned, we’re January 31 and I don’t even want to open up the distinct possibility that we’d even think about that because I think it has to be clearly stated to the folks in New Hampshire: ‘We didn’t create this problem. We’re not moving. You created this problem. You solve it,'” Vilsack said.
Iowa’s Secretary of State and the leaders of both the Iowa Republican and Democrat parties flew to New Hampshire over the weekend to try to resolve the date dilemma.