Iowa GOP close to picking January 3 for caucuses

The Republican Party of Iowa’s State Central Committee favors scheduling the Iowa caucuses for January 3, 2012, committee member Drew Ivers told the Des Moines Register today.

Jason Clayworth reports,

“We had a real clear consensus last night that we want Jan. 3,” said Drew Ivers, a member of the Iowa GOP central committee who is from Webster City.

The tentative agreement was reached during an Iowa GOP Central Committee phone conference last night, Ivers said.

Chairman Matt Strawn wanted to wait to publicly talk about the Jan. 3 date until Monday as a courtesy to officials involved with ongoing talks with New Hampshire, Ivers said.

Way to undercut your party chair, Mr. Ivers. I’m sure he will appreciate your blabbing the news while he tries to negotiate with New Hampshire counterparts.

O.Kay Henderson quoted Strawn’s comments to reporters this morning:

“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 said. “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.”

Within the past week, Florida Republicans have scheduled a primary election for January 31, South Carolina Republicans have scheduled their primary for January 21, and Nevada Republicans have scheduled their primary for January 14. Traditionally New Hampshire holds its primary on a Tuesday at least seven days before “any similar contest,” which means that January 10 would appear to be too late. If New Hampshire picks January 3, Iowa Republicans face two sub-optimal choices: hold the caucuses the same night as the New Hampshire primary, or push the caucuses back before Christmas.

What would you do in this situation, Bleeding Heartland readers?

P.S. For what it’s worth, Ivers is one of five Ron Paul endorsers on the Iowa GOP’s State Central Committee. (The others are James Mills, A.J. Spiker, David Fischer and Jeremiah Johnson.) No other presidential candidate has as many public supporters on the 21-member body.

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