The plot concerning the Republican primary/caucus schedule thickens. Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus has urged Nevada Republicans to move the date of their caucuses to Feb. 4 from their current plan of Jan. 14, Politico reports.
He brandished both the carrot and the stick in trying to convince Nevada to change its schedule. Priebus is thus championing the cause of New Hampshire Republicans. New Hampshire Secretary of State Bill Gardner has urged Nevada to make the shift.
New Hampshire wants to hold its primary Jan. 10, and it wants at least seven days between its primary and the next one. Gardner originally tried to get Nevada to go for the date of Tuesday, Jan. 17. But much of Nevada’s caucuses take place in schools, which are occupied during the week.
Iowa’s caucuses, which traditionally start the primary season, are scheduled for Jan. 3. The whole tizzy began when Florida opted to hold its primary Jan. 31, violating party rules.
Nevada, South Carolina, and Iowa all wanted to make sure they precede the Florida vote.
Priebus sent a letter to Nevada GOP Chairwoman Amy Tarkanian elucidating his thoughts.
“A February 4 caucus date will eliminate the uncertainty caused by Florida’s actions and the posturing of New Hampshire’s secretary of state, restore order in the primary calendar, and benefit Nevada in several ways,” he wrote.
Note the dig at Gardner, who threatened to shift New Hampshire’s primary to December if it didn’t get the seven-day interval after its own vote.
As for the benefits Nevada will receive for moving its date back, Priebus said it won’t have to worry about candidates boycotting its caucuses because of the conflict with New Hampshire.
He also said Nevada will draw more attention by voting four days after Florida rather than four days after New Hampshire.
And Priebus wielded the carrot and stick over convention privileges. Sticking with the January date would “expose your state to additional penalties such as the loss of VIP passes and guest privileges at the convention, as well as low priority with respect to hotels and seating in the convention hall.”
A change in the date would guarantee full privileges, Priebus said.
Nevada’s Chairwoman Tarkanian issued a statement Thursday suggesting she’s willing to change the date, the Las Vegas Sun reports. But Tarkanian and other state Republican leaders will have to sway the party’s full central committee to back a shift at its meeting Saturday.
“While no decision has been made, productive discussions with state Republican leaders have made one thing clear. Our party will take the steps necessary to ensure Nevada’s voice remains prominent in the presidential selection process,” Tarkanian said.
“It’s also clear that our party leaders will not let the influence of Nevada voters be weakened because of the actions of a few other states and zealous individuals.”
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