Iowa's Republican Party officials have set their presidential caucuses for Jan. 3, maintaining that state's position as the first contest in the state-by-state selection process.
The move was expected though Iowa officials had been waiting to see what date New Hampshire would choose. That New England state has yet to announce an earlier date for its primary. So Iowa went decided to go ahead and pick a date.
The four states which traditionally hold the first four contests, Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina all vowed to move their primaries and caucuses to earlier dates when Florida decided to violate party rules and move its primary to Jan. 31 from March. Florida did the same thing four years ago.
Jennifer Jacobs, chief political writer for the the Des Moines Register reported:
Iowa GOP leaders, instead of waiting until they know exactly what date New Hampshire will pick, voted to rein in the calendar chaos by locking in a date for the Republican caucuses here.
The Republican Party of Iowa central committee voted unanimously tonight in favor of Jan. 3, with a 7 p.m. start time, Republican Party of Iowa Chairman Matt Strawn said.
Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.