New Hampshire keeps first primary honors

Nov. 2, 2011 at 1:55 PM
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CONCORD, N.H., Nov. 2 (UPI) -- New Hampshire has declared victory in the quadrennial battle of wills over precedence in the presidential nominating calendar.

New Hampshire Secretary of State Bill Gardner, at a news conference at the state Capitol in Concord Wednesday, announced Jan. 10 as New Hampshire's first-in-the-nation primary date.

"It's my honor and privilege to say that the tradition of the New Hampshire primary will live on," Gardner said.

Gardner has been setting the primary date and fighting to keep it first in the nation for 35 years, Politico reported.

With Gardner's Jan. 10 selection, the Republican primary calendar is complete. Iowa will hold its caucuses Jan. 3, followed a week later by New Hampshire's first-in-the-nation primary.

South Carolina will hold its primaries Jan. 21, and Florida will vote Jan. 31.

Nevada will hold caucuses Feb. 4. Nevada Republicans, awarded one of the four coveted early state slots by the Democratic and Republican national committees, tried legally tethering their caucus date to the Saturday after the New Hampshire primary, but Gardner refused to discuss scheduling, threatening a December primary.

Nevada gave in Oct. 22.

Former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman, who boycotted a presidential debate in Nevada out of support for New Hampshire, welcomed the announcement.

"I look forward to competing in this great American tradition -- the 'First in the Nation' primary -- on Jan. 10. Bill Gardner has done an excellent job protecting this sacred status and I have been proud to stand with him since Day One in support of New Hampshire's rightful place in this process," Huntsman said in a statement.

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