MANCHESTER, N.H. -- The man responsible for setting the date of the New Hampshire Primary hinted this afternoon that he would not break tradition and jump ahead of the Iowa Caucuses.
“Like we have before we are going to honor the Iowa law,” said New Hampshire Secretary of State Bill Gardner to reporters before a dinner honoring those involved in the New Hampshire Primary. “I hope [Iowa] will honor ours as well.”
New Hampshire law requires that its primary be at least a week before any similar election. The Iowa caucuses, in which voters express their candidate preferences to neighbors in living-room settings, have not been considered similar enough to justify moving the date of the New Hampshire primary.
But this year, the Democratic National Committee has voted to put a second caucus, in Nevada, between New Hampshire and Iowa. Since the structure of the Nevada caucuses is unknown, Gardner has reserved judgment on whether to move the primary date ahead of Nevada -- even if being a week ahead of Nevada meant jumping ahead of Iowa as well.
Yesterday, he amended his comments to express his hope that New Hampshire and Iowa could work together to retain their special statuses in the presidential primary season, with Iowa's caucuses first and New Hampshire's primary coming a week later.