Iowa Republican Party chairman Matt Strawn says there’s been “no final decision” on moving the date for the Iowa Caucuses, although the ultimate goal is to keep the Caucuses in 2012. A member of the party’s state central committee told The Des Moines Register the committee’s consensus is that January 3, 2012 should be the date.
“There’s been no final decision made, you know, on when the date of the Iowa Caucuses will be. One thing, in discussing it with my committee members last night, we very much want to make sure that we’re doing everything possible to keep the Caucuses in January,” Strawn told reporters this morning.
“I think for the long-term stability of maintaining our role as the first-in-the-nation caucus state, it’s important for us to start this process in 2012 and actually for the voters, for the candidates and for the entire process we all would be best served by starting this in January.”
The Iowa Caucuses had been scheduled for February 6, but when Florida officials decided to hold that state’s primary on January 31, the four “early” states in the presidential selection process started rescheduling contests. South Carolina settled on January 21. Yesterday, Nevada officials decided their Caucuses would be held on January 14. New Hampshire’s Secretary of State has not yet set the date of his state’s primary.
“We need to do something that not only takes care of Iowa being first-in-the-nation, but its one that serves the voters well and serves the presidential candidates well,” Strawn said.
According to Strawn, that means having the Caucuses in 2012, rather than pushing them into December.
“Hopefully we can reach resolution sooner rather than later,” Strawn said. “I’m confident that we will because at the end of the day leaders in New Hampshire, leaders in Iowa understand the very serious and important role we play in this process and want to make sure that we get the decision right.”
Party leaders will have to find meeting sites for the nearly 1700 precincts throughout the state. Iowa Democrats will move their Caucuses to the same date, as preserving Iowa’s first-in-the-nation status is one of the few things on which the two parties agree.
“This is not for amateurs and not for the faint of heart,” Iowa Democratic Party chair Sue Dvorsky told reporters late this morning. “This is how we begin the process of selecting the leader of the greatest county on Earth. It’s important.”
Dvorsky said some of the Republican presidential candidates “haven’t been helpful” as the campaign calendar has been scrambled. Dvorsky cited Mitt Romney’s reported role in influencing the earlier timing of Nevada’s Caucuses is an affront to Iowa.
“One of the things about him not being here and not seeing us…this is something that Iowans of all political stripes take incredibly seriously,” Dvorsky said.
The two party leaders are guests on the Iowa Public Television program “Iowa Press” which airs tonight at 7:30 and they will discuss, at length, the controversy of the timing of the Iowa Caucuses.