A spokeswoman for Mitt Romney refuses to comment on a report that the former Massachusetts governor’s campaign urged the Nevada Republican Party to break national party rules by scheduling its presidential caucus for January, Politico
The report of the Romney camp’s pressure came from the Last Vegas Review-Journal, which cited former Republican National Committee (RNC) member and Nevada Gov. Bob List as its source.
An earlier Nevada caucus could help Romney by extending the momentum of a presumed victory in New Hampshire.
Romney press secretary Andrea Saul, while declining to confirm or deny the Review-Journal story, said, "Gov. Romney is running a national campaign and is prepared to compete in every state. He believes that Iowa’s first in-the-nation caucus and New Hampshire's first-in-the-nation primary should be preserved, and he looks forward to competing in every other nominating contest — whenever they are scheduled."
Romney has said in the past that he would campaign in states that violate RNC rules with the dates of their primaries. His campaign has a heavy-duty operation in Florida, which scheduled its primary for Jan. 31.
RNC rules stipulate that only Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Nevada can convene their primaries/caucuses before March 6. And even those four are forbidden from scheduling contests in January.
The campaigns of former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum and former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman hit Romney hard over the allegations of skullduggery.
In a statement to Politico, Santorum charged that Romney is “trying to bully states” to fix the primary schedule in his favor. “It’s not surprising when a campaign pushes for a leg up on the competition. But what is surprising in this case is that reports show Gov. Romney’s campaign appears to be pushing a state to break the rules for his campaign’s benefit,” Santorum said.
As for Huntsman, adviser Paul Collins issued a statement to New Hampshire newspapers saying, "It's unfortunate that the Romney campaign is trying to game the system for their own benefit and at the detriment of Granite Staters."
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