New Hampshire eyes December primary

Oct. 13, 2011 at 11:50 AM
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KEENE, N.H., Oct. 13 (UPI) -- New Hampshire is considering holding its presidential primary in December to retain its first-in-the-nation primary status, state officials said.

Responding to Nevada's decision to hold its caucus on Jan 14, New Hampshire Secretary of State Bill Gardner said the state will hold its primary, traditionally held in January, no later than Jan. 7 and said Dec. 6 or Dec. 13 are realistic options.

New Hampshire law mandates the primary must be set seven days or more before any event that would threaten their traditional lead-off status. "So if Nevada does not adjust its caucus date to a later time, I cannot rule out the possibility of a December primary," Gardner said Wednesday in a statement.

Gardner said small states play a crucial role in selecting a president because they allow candidates without a large staff or advertising budget to get their message out to voters.

"For nearly 100 years, the New Hampshire First-In-The-Nation Presidential Primary has had meaning and relevance to American politics," Gardner said. "Several aspiring Americans likely would not have become president if they weren't first able to make their case door-to-door, face-to-face, eye-to-eye with New Hampshire voters who meet them at our homes, in our backyards, and on our sidewalks away from the microphones and cameras that create a barrier between human beings."

Gardner said if the role of small states was eliminated "only the very rich or famous candidates would be able to put on the major campaigns needed for victory or to exceed expectations."

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