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Advancing Progressive Ideas

The Primary Primary

South Carolina Republicans moved their presidential primary to January 19, creating a chain reaction among other early primary states. Get ready - you might see the first votes in 2008's presidential election cast in 2007.

The chain reaction is a funny thing. South Carolina is traditionally the first Southern primary. The Iowa caucus is the first contest by state law, and likewise by state law, New Hampshire must have the first primary in the nation. The Washington Post article cited above says that Bill Gardner, New Hampshire's Secretary of State, isn't talking about a date yet but a lot of hands will be probably be forced in the coming weeks:

Given the change, Gardner will be forced by state law to move the New Hampshire primary to at least Jan. 12. Iowa then probably would move up its traditional leadoff caucuses, perhaps to as early as mid-December.

"There's nothing I can do or even think about until I know what New Hampshire is going to do. As far as I'm concerned we are going to be No. 1 in the nation. As far as a date, I don't know yet," Ray Hoffmann, the Republican Party chairman in Iowa, said Thursday.

The interesting thing about the South Carolina situation is that the Democratic presidential primary, as of now, will be on a different day than the Republican presidential primary. The South Carolina Democratic Party chair, Carol Fowler, isn't making any moves to shift the date of that contest, citing the penalties for doing so as a motivating factor.

So, the one thing you can count on right now is that the first few weeks of primary contests are in flux at the moment and will be for the next month or so. Christmas voting in Iowa is, as of now, a possibility.

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