Nevada lost much of its status as an early caucus state by moving its primary to Feb. 4, but still had the consolation of being first in the West. However, Colorado is coming close to beating it for that title.
Nevada traded in its place as an early primary state to settle a national Republican crisis, said the Las Vegas Sun
, when the first four states, Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, and South Carolina worked to fit their contests.
The scrambling started when Florida scheduled its primary for Jan. 31, and Nevada rescheduled to early January to keep its place, but then encroached on the New Hampshire primary date. After being pressured by everyone from GOP candidates to the New Hampshire secretary of state, Nevada’s Republicans voted to move the primary to Feb. 4, choosing the date because Colorado had moved its caucuses to Feb. 7.
Nevada’s political leaders are worried that Colorado wants Nevada’s “First in the West” title, and eventually will get it in future primaries.
“We did not get a specific quid pro quo. What we got was a whole lot of goodwill that is going to go a long way,” Nevada Republican National Committeeman Bob List said of the state’s agreeing to move to a later date. “What we earned was a great deal of respect and admiration for doing the right thing.”
The West has become the one of the swing sections of the country, with Nevada, New Mexico, and Colorado instrumental in the 2008 election, when President Barack Obama won all three. Before that, former President George W. Bush carried all three states in 2004.
Colorado’s population is bigger, meaning Nevada could find itself challenged about which state is more instrumental in elections. Nevada GOP leaders are already anticipating a fight with Colorado over the “first” title.
Republican National Committee (RNC) Chairman Reince Priebus praises Nevada, but isn’t making any guarantees. However, most of the Republican candidates have spent more time campaigning in Denver than in Las Vegas, leaving Nevadans worried the RNC will favor Colorado in the future.
Nevada is appealing to the RNC about who hosts the party’s convention, and officials feel optimistic that it will continue to be first — but that it could take a fight.
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