Tis the season to be voting!
Want a little eggnog with your presidential nomination process this year? Well, chances are you'll get it.
South Carolina's Republican Party announced today it is moving its 2008 presidential primary forward to Jan. 19, a decision almost certain to spark a cascade of calendar changes that could push the start of voting to New Year's Day or even to before Christmas.
The move is likely to cause the New Hampshire primary and Iowa caucuses to be shifted at least to early January, and other states are actively angling to stake out spots earlier in the process. The maneuvering has injected a new note of uncertainty into what is already the earliest-starting presidential campaign in history, and top strategists for the candidates said it would force them to revise their carefully worked out plans.
Katon Dawson, who heads the South Carolina GOP, made the shift to retain the distinction of holding the "first in the South" presidential primary balloting. Dawson's move was sparked by the Florida legislature's decision to upstage South Carolina by moving the state's primary to Jan. 29. South Carolina had been scheduled to vote Feb. 2.
Dawson made the announcement in a joint appearance in Concord, N.H., with New Hampshire Secretary of State Bill Gardner, who under New Hampshire law must set his state's primary, currently scheduled for Jan. 22, at least a week before any other.
"We are here to stand shoulder to shoulder with our friends in New Hampshire to reaffirm the important role that both of our states play in presidential politics," Dawson said.
Under some scenarios, the South Carolina decision could lead Iowa to hold its caucuses in mid-December, creating an unprecedented situation in which convention delegates are selected in the calendar year before a presidential election.
In Iowa, state law requires presidential nominating caucuses to be held at least eight days before any other voting.
As I said before, and some people in the press seemed to neglect, South Carolina political parties have complete autonomy over the date of their presidential primaries, and there was no way on God's green Earth that the SCGOP was going to be going behind, or even on the same day as Florida. Meaning it was just a matter of waiting for the right time before SCGOP Chairman Katon Dawson let everyone know just how much further up on the schedule our primary would be. Mark your calendars for January 19th.
Due to state laws in Iowa and New Hampshire, which state that they have to have the first caucus and first primary respectively, this means that they will be moving their dates up as well. New Hampshire will likely be on January 12th...and that leaves Iowa a question mark at this point. New Years day is on a Tuesday...so no caucus on New Year's Eve...too much partying....or the day after...too many hangovers.
So what does that leave? Well, their state law says they have to be at least 8 days before anyone else...which means either that Thursday or Friday (the 3rd or the 4th). But that's only a week 'til New Hampshire...which may be too close for them to get the kind of attention they want. Which brings us to December...but the week before New Year's is Christmas! Problems, problems. Possibly the Saturday between Christmas and New Years? Don't know.
But what we do know is this has shaved off at least one week from the planning schedules of the presidential campaigns. As in, one week less to get things in place.
Some speculate on having "too much time" between the nomination season and the general election...opening doors to third parties
Hot Air speculates on who wins and loses