Top G.O.P. officials from Iowa are hailing a move to keep Iowa’s Caucuses first. The Republican National Committee’s rules committee has voted to have Iowa go first in the 2012 presidential nominating season, along with other "early state" contests in New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina.

Stewart Iverson is chairman of the Republican Party of Iowa and he’s in Albuquerque, New Mexico, where that decision was made Wednesday. "This is the first step to keeping Iowa first-in-the-nation with our caucuses," Iverson told Radio Iowa by phone.

The decision must be reviewed at the Republican National Convention this September when the party ratifies the calendar of contests for the next presidential nominating season. "There still is a possibility it could get changed, but I think this is an important first step to keeping Iowa first in the nation," Iverson said.

Iverson contends Iowa Causes should continue to be a leadoff event so the campaign, at its beginning, can be about more than just who has the most money to run the most TV and radio time. "In Iowa and New Hampshire especially they’re small states and it gives the candidates an opportunity to get to know people and the people to get to know the candidates and I think it actually makes the candidate a better candidate because they get to talk to the individual voters in these states and I think that makes a big difference versus just paid ads," Iverson said.

According to Iverson, none of John McCain’s staff had a direct hand in the decision made by the Republican National Committee’s rules committee. That leaves open the possibility McCain, as the party’s nominee, might try to change the process for 2012. McCain skipped the Iowa Caucuses when he ran for president in 2000. In the spring of 2007, however, McCain started campaigning here, but after his fundraising fell off McCain pared down his Iowa campaign effort in the summer. McCain ended up finishing fourth in the 2008 Iowa Caucuses.

More information on this story is posted on The Blog at .  It includes a six-minute-long mp3 of Iverson’s conversation with Radio Iowa.