Releasing a tentative primary schedule for next year, Republican National Committee Chairman Jim Nicholson said yesterday that he was concerned about the trend of states holding their presidential primaries and caucuses earlier. He said he will appoint an advisory panel to study the trend and recommend ways to reverse it.
"It is so compressed and it goes off like a string of firecrackers once it starts," he told the Associated Press. "A person who might have gotten a bounce because of a surprisingly good showing in an early primary ... [won't have] time to really maximize that."
Among the options Nicholson said he will instruct the panel to consider is a rotating regional system in which different groups of states follow Iowa and New Hampshire each presidential cycle. That idea is being promoted by the National Association of Secretaries of State.
GOP Primary and Caucus Schedule
Dates for Republican primaries and caucuses in 2000, according to the Republican National Committee. The Democrats' schedule, which is expected to be very similar, will not be set until September. States could change the dates but would face penalties from the RNC.
Feb. 7: Iowa caucus
Feb. 8: New Hampshire
Feb. 19: South Carolina
Feb. 22: Arizona, Michigan
Feb. 29: Virginia, North Dakota caucus
March 7: California, Connecticut, Georgia, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Missouri, New York, Ohio, Rhode Island, Vermont
March 10: Colorado, Utah
March 14: Florida, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas
March 21: Illinois, Wyoming caucus
April 4: Kansas, Wisconsin
April 25: Minnesota caucus
April 27: Pennsylvania
May 2: District of Columbia, Indiana, North Carolina
May 9: Nebraska, West Virginia
May 16: Oregon
May 19: Alaska caucus
May 20: Kentucky
May 23: Arkansas, Idaho
May 25: Nevada caucus
June 6: Alabama, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico, South Dakota, Washington
No date set: Louisiana, Delaware
SOURCE: Associated Press