Everyone Wants to Be First: As if the officials of the national Democratic Party are not already having trouble enough getting states to hold presidential primaries and caucuses within the time frame the party has set for them, the Republican governor of Iowa has thrown another high, hard one at them.
Gov. Terry Branstad said this week that he will veto any attempt to change the current state law as a means of forcing Iowa Democrats to hold their presidential precinct caucuses at least a week before the New Hampshire primary.
This gets a little complicated. The "window" the national Democrats have set, in an effort to shorten the nominating process, is March 13 to June 12. But because Iowa and New Hampshire take much pride in traditionally being the first caucus and primary states, the party granted them exceptions--Iowa to hold its caucuses Feb. 27, New Hampshire to have its primary March 6.
New Hampshire, however, is talking about moving its primary up to Feb. 28 because Vermont has its town meetings and non-binding presidential straw votes on March 6 and Granite State politicians do not want to share the limelight of that day. Iowa law sets its caucuses for Feb. 13 and the Democratic-controlled legislature will have to change it to meet the Feb. 27 date. Enter Branstad and his veto threat.
"We want to stay first in the nation and I'm going to do what we have to do to stay first," he said.