The Republican National Committee has adopted new rules that keep the Iowa Caucuses as the first contest in the 2012 presidential campaign. The 2012 Caucuses will likely be held on the first Monday in February, followed by primaries in New Hampshire and South Carolina and caucuses in Nevada.
Iowa Republican Party chairman Matt Strawn says the new rules penalize states that would hold contests before March 1, 2012. “Of course, Iowa — we retain our traditional role of kicking things off, but it really, really goes away from any sort of movement for a national primary,” Strawn says, “a single day that really only benefits those larger states and the candidates who can write one check and run a bunch of TV ads.”
The campaign calendar rules were adopted earlier today by the Republican National Committee. Strawn says it’s part of an effort to bring “stability” to the nominating process. “So it does provide finality to process, but it also makes sure that candidates have an opportunity to compete in the traditional kick-off states,” Strawn says.
Iowa’s two major political parties held Caucuses earlier this year on Saturday, January 23. But it’s the Caucuses which are held in presidential election years which draw the most attention, and participation. The 2008 Iowa Caucuses were held on January 3. Strawn says these new rules help guarantee the 2012 Caucuses won’t be that early.
“I don’t think anybody relishes the thought of having Caucus Night just right after the holiday season and right after New Year’s,” Strawn says. “This hopefully provides that order, that stability — a reasonable schedule that allows Iowa to go likely that first Monday in February. I believe that’s what the Democrat are moving toward as well. I think it’s a process and a calendar that most activists and certainly the candidates and the campaigns will find workable.”
The Democratic National Committee meets later this month and is expected to vote on a similar schedule for presidential primaries and caucuses in 2012.