Iowa sets early Jan. date for GOP caucuses

Oct. 17, 2011 at 10:29 PM
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DES MOINES, Iowa, Oct. 17 (UPI) -- Iowa will hold its Republican presidential caucuses the first Tuesday in January, state GOP Chairman Matt Strawn said Monday evening.

Strawn made the announcement following a conference call with the state party's central committee members, Politico reported.

Iowa Republican leaders went ahead and set the Jan. 3 date for the caucuses without waiting for their counterparts in New Hampshire to pick a date for their primary election. New Hampshire is the only state yet to announce a date of its presidential nominating contest, the Washington publication said.

Traditionally, Iowa has led the presidential nominee selection season with its caucuses, followed by New Hampshire.

"On behalf of over 600,000 Iowa Republicans, I'm excited to announce the first step Iowans will have to replace Barack Obama and his failed presidency will be next Jan. 3 at our First in the Nation Iowa Caucuses," Strawn said in a release. "A Jan. 3 date provides certainty to the voters, to our presidential candidates, and to the thousands of statewide volunteers who make the caucus process a reflection of the very best of our representative democracy."

Iowa originally had intended to hold its caucuses Feb. 6 but moved the date up after Arizona, Florida, South Carolina and Nevada moved theirs from February to the second and third Saturdays in January.

New Hampshire Secretary of State Bill Gardner has suggested his state could move its primary into December.

"I will do everything in my power on the RNC [Republican National Committee] to hold Florida accountable for creating this mess, but the culpability for creating a compressed January calendar does not end there," Strawn said. "The actions of early state newcomer Nevada have also exacerbated this problem and unnecessarily crowded the January calendar. Time remains for Nevada to respect the process, honor tradition and rectify the problem in a way that will restore order to the nomination calendar."

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