After a quiet month on the frontloading front, it looks like the efforts are set to begin anew. And no, not for 2012. The dust has settled on the Florida and Michigan moves, but that has only triggered action on the part of the four states granted exemptions by the Democratic National Committee. Sure, Iowa and New Hampshire were always going to wait it out and set their dates at the last possible moment (Note: Both national parties' deadlines to set primary and caucus dates passed last month.), but now Nevada and South Carolina are taking a "Hey, we're exempt too" approach. "And since we're exempt, you wouldn't mind if we go ahead and move up a week or so, would you?"
With Florida smack dab on top of them on January 29, South Carolina Democrats now want the Democratic primary in the state to coincide with the Republican primary on January 19 according to The Caucus blog on the New York Times web site. The difference here is that South Carolina Democrats are not going it alone like Florida and Michigan before them. With the exemption from the national party still in place, they are going through the DNC to get the move on the books.
This line of thought seems to be prevailing further west in Nevada as well. Members of both state parties are discussing a move to January 12 (from January 19 where South Carolina is setting up shop) for both caucuses. The LA Times Top of the Ticket blog is reporting that such a move has been and is being discussed within the state and that party leaders there are waiting on Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina to move first. Waiting on South Carolina is one thing, but with this being the first high-profile caucus ever in Nevada, organizing this thing and playing a game of chicken with the pros from Iowa and New Hampshire is a different can of worms entirely.
And if those two potential moves were not enough, Iowa Republicans are eyeing January 3 as a possible spot for the caucuses there. The Caucus reports that that date is the recommendation of the state GOP's central committee. Interestingly, state Democrats are considering a January 5 caucus date; a rare date split between the two Hawkeye State parties.
What about New Hampshire, you ask? Well, word out of the Granite State is that Secretary of State Gardner has indicated that a date at least two weeks prior to the date used in 2004 is likely. For those of you scoring at home, that would be the second Tuesday in January at the latest (January 8). Regardless, the date is to be set within the next month. Thanks to Ballot Access News for that.
So here's the potential calendar as of October 8 (January dates only):
Thursday Jan. 3: Iowa GOP caucuses
Saturday Jan. 5: Iowa Dem. caucuses, Wyoming GOP caucuses
Tuesday Jan. 8: New Hampshire Dem./GOP primaries
Saturday Jan. 12: Nevada Dem./GOP caucuses
Tuesday Jan. 15: Michigan Dem./GOP primaries
Saturday Jan. 19: South Carolina Dem./GOP primaries
Tuesday Jan. 29: Florida Dem./GOP primaries
Iowa and New Hampshire might be trying to avoid moving into 2007, but it is looking pretty crowded up there at the front. Stay tuned.