South Carolina GOP pushes up primary; others could follow

| 8/10/2007

South Carolina Republicans announced this week they moved their 2008 presidential primary to Jan. 19. The decision triggered a chain reaction as other early voting states look to push up their balloting to as early as before Christmas 2007.

The Republican primary in South Carolina had been scheduled for Feb. 2, 2008. Democrats in the Palmetto State will stick to their vote on Jan. 29. The decision to move up the GOP decision day is likely to push New Hampshire and Iowa to follow suit.

Other states also could make a push to move up their nominating contests to attract candidates to their states before Feb. 5, when more than 20 states are slated to head to the voting booth.

State laws in Iowa and New Hampshire require party officials there to hold the first caucus and primary in the nation, respectively. As a result, the New Hampshire primary likely will be moved up from Jan. 22 to at least Jan. 12. Iowa could reschedule its traditional leadoff caucuses – currently set for Jan. 14 – perhaps to as early as mid-December.

There are no plans, however, to move up the date of Iowa’s Democratic caucus, a spokeswoman for the party told The Associated Press.

Other nominating contests scheduled for January are in Nevada on Jan. 19, and Florida on Jan. 29.

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– By Keith Goble, state legislative editor