Nevada will hold its Republican presidential caucuses on January 14, instead of February 18.
Nevada GOP Chairwoman Amy Tarkanian announced the scheduling change for her state on Wednesday.
"I’m extremely pleased to finally have a firm date for a caucus that will greatly improve Nevada’s standing and relevance in terms of national politics," she said. "By establishing this date, we maintain Nevada’s standing as one of the first four ‘carve-out’ states and as the very first in the west."
A statement issued by the Nevada Republican party called out Florida for sparking a series of changes to the primary election calendar:
The date of Nevada’s caucus was thrown into turmoil when Florida, in violation of agreed-upon rules, moved its primary to January, causing the four carve-out early states, Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Nevada to scramble to find new dates to maintain the agreed-upon order.
Florida was the first state to reschedule its 2012 primary for an earlier date and it wasn't long before South Carolina announced a similar move. The AP recently reported:
Florida's move thwarts efforts by both major political parties to delay presidential primaries and caucuses. Their aim has been to avoid a repeat of the 2008 scenario, when states jumped ahead of each other at that time in attempts to increase their influence in the process.
"This is absolutely in the best interest of our state," Tarkanian said of the decision to move up Nevada's caucuses. "We are in the process of creating a caucus that will energize Republicans throughout Nevada and the west, and allow us to play a major role in deciding who will carry the fight to unseat Barack Obama and his destructive policies."
It's likely that all the recent leapfrogging on the primary calendar will prompt New Hampshire to move up the state's primary and Iowa to change its caucus to an earlier date.
The Wall Street Journal speculates that an early January choice by New Hampshire could push the primary back into 2011:
If New Hampshire chooses to vote on a Tuesday, one possible outcome is that the state’s primary would fall on Jan. 3, with Iowa holding its caucuses in December.
The nominating calendar is mired in a thicket of state laws and party rules. New Hampshire law dictates that the state hold its primary at least a week before the next similar contest. Iowans observe a similar statute that says they must hold their caucuses eight days before that.
New Hampshire is expected to make a decision on its primary date in the upcoming weeks.