The Iowa Republican Party’s decision late Monday to set its 2012 caucus for Jan. 3 means New Hampshire can put aside the potential madness of holding the nation’s first presidential primary in December, right?
Wrong, says New Hampshire Secretary of State William Gardner, who said Tuesday morning that “all options are still on the table, including a primary before the end of the year.’’
Gardner said he’s not confident that Nevada’s caucus date of Jan. 14 is firm. The state Republican party is under pressure to move the voting back; in fact, one candidate, Jon Huntsman, is boycotting tonight’s debate in Nevada out of solidarity with New Hampshire’s determination to have a substantial head start.
“I don’t know what Nevada is going to end up doing,’’ Gardner said, adding that if the state would reschedule for three days later he would set his state’s primary for Jan. 10. He wouldn’t say what he will do if Nevada refuses to budge.
While campaigns and media outlets are anxious to make their plans, Gardner is no hurry and noted that he typically does not set the primary date until the end of the candidate filing period. That’s on Oct. 28.
“I’m going to set the date at a time that I believe will honor the tradition of our primary,’’ he said. “We are faced with some choices that aren’t the best.’’