The following piece is part of the Huffington Post's OffTheBus project.
This piece is published in partnership with Blue Hampshire.
Jim Splaine, a prominent New Hampshire legislator and author of the state's 1976 primary law which allows the Secretary of State discretion to move the primary before any "similar election", argued last evening on the site Blue Hampshire that it may be time for a December 11th date for the primary:
"So, with the very serious possibility that the Iowa Caucuses will be on January 3rd, New Hampshire now has to make a choice. Should we have our primary right after Iowa, with a reduced "window" between it and us, or use this opportunity to have our Presidential Primary during the first two weeks of December? The second Tuesday in December is the 11th, and that date would do some interesting things..."
While such it's tempting to think of Splaine's comments as little more than a thought experiment, he has been right before. Over a year ago he predicted the primary would fall back to its current projected date of January 8th, and while others were fretting over Nevada's position, he predicted correctly that Nevada would become less relevant as other states pushed up. In New Hampshire, he is regarded as one of the foremost experts on primary scheduling.
In his post he cites five reasons for such an early primary, including reducing the effect of the compressed Iowa/New Hampshire schedule, allowing sufficient time after the primary for losers to recover and regroup, and providing an early window for face-to-face campaigning with voters before the holidays.
Update: Kathy Sullivan, recently retired NH Dem Party Chair, rebuts Rep. Splaine's post in the comments, saying to do this would mean the end of the primary:
"It will be the end of the primary going forward into the future. While we'll still schedule one, the candidates won't come. Why? Because we will have proven what we have denied all these years: that we are arrogant people who only care about New Hampshire, and that we want to go first just because we want to go first, not because of grass roots politics, not because of our dedication to democracy. Say goodbye to the primary, and turn the lights off behind you! "