Iowa caucuses set for Jan. 3

The Iowa caucuses have been scheduled for Jan. 3, the state’s Republican Party announced late Monday, a move that fills out the early nominating contest calendar and leaves New Hampshire as the only state that has yet to set a date.

This election cycle, the calendar has been an uncertain jumble of states looking to move their dates up to be more relevant to the party’s nominating cycle. The jockeying for position has led to threats of boycotts by some candidates.

Florida earlier moved up its contest to Jan. 31, which threatens New Hampshire’s first-in-the-nation primary. Nevada then set its caucuses even earlier — Jan. 14

A slew of candidates have opted out of participating in the Nevada contest if the state insists on the Jan. 14 caucus date.

Matt Strawn, Iowa’s party chairman, expressed solidarity with New Hampshire, which must set its contest primary one week before the state that’s next in line. Bill Gardner, New Hampshire’s secretary of state, said he is considering moving the primary into 2011, to early December.

Strawn said he would work to preserve Iowa’s and New Hampshire’s special status in the nominating contest.

He blamed Florida for “creating this mess” but added that “the actions of early state newcomer Nevada have also exacerbated this problem and unnecessarily crowded the January calendar.”

Strawn called on Nevada to pull back, saying, “Time remains for Nevada to respect the process, honor tradition and rectify the problem in a way that will restore order to the nomination calendar.”

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