The Iowa Republican party has chosen Tuesday, Jan. 3 for its 2012 presidential caucuses, the Des Moines Register reported Friday.
The choice was made “under a tentative agreement that will be formally voted on around Oct. 16,” the Register reported. Party officials are negotiating the caucus schedule with their New Hampshire counterparts.
“We’re pretty adamant on the third because it’s kind of like the last bus out of town and still be in the general election year of 2012,” Iowa GOP central committee member Drew Ivers told the newspaper. “If they (New Hampshire officials) pick the third before we do, then it will be pretty tough for us to say we also want the third.”
Iowas has held the first caucuses in the nation for 40 years. New Hampshire won’t announce its primary date before Oct. 17.
The early primary calendar has been a source of flux and controversy since Florida Republican leaders officially set the state’s primary for Jan. 31, challenging the preeminence of the traditional early-voting and prompting Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Nevada to consider moving up their dates in order to vote ahead of Florida.
Under rules set last year by the Republican National Committee, any state attempting to leapfrog the early four by setting its primary date before March 6 would lose half of its delegates. By prioritizing the state’s influence on the nominating process over its delegate count, Florida Republicans will now lose half of 99 delegates to next year's convention, which will be held in Tampa.