The Democratic National Committee on Friday formed a study panel that could strip Iowa’s political caucuses of their first-in-the-nation status. Congressman David Price of North Carolina, a cochair of the committee, says it’s not an indictment of the current system. Price says he doesn’t think the nominating process is “seriously in need of repair,” and he’s keeping an open mind. He says the purpose of convening the group is NOT the outcome of this fall’s election. But the commission was formed in part because of pressure from Michigan democrats who say Iowa and New Hampshire lack the size and diversity that would make them valid sounding boards for choosing a presidential candidate. That criticism grew after Iowa catapulted John Kerry to the front of the pack, only to have him lose the general election. There may be some critical of New Hampshire and Iowa, he says but they’re not the only focus nor are the early contests. Congressman Price admits other states would like a shot at being first, and says they’ll get a fair hearing. Price says everyone “wants their place in the sun” and wants some say in the process, which is a reason the state primaries and caucuses are scheduled earlier, nearer “the front of the calendar.” There’s been a move to make contests earlier and earlier, “front-loading” the political process, and he says if it turns out other states want the earlier spots there may be some for and some against that kind of change. Price says the goal of the commission is simple — to take a look at the nominating process and ensure it’s fair and results in selection of the best nominee for the party.
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