Iowa Governor Saves Christmas
DES MOINES -- Iowa Gov. Chet Culver said Iowa will preserve its status as the state that holds the kickoff event of the presidential nominating process, but dismissed speculation that the caucuses will be moved to December 2007. "The bottom line is Iowa will have the first caucus and we're going in January," Culver said in an interview at his state capitol office this morning.
On Thursday, several Iowa political leaders vowed that the caucuses could be moved to mid-December because of South Carolina's decision to set its Republican primary on Jan. 19 -- a move likely to force New Hampshire to set its primary before that. But Culver said the 2008 nominating process should not begin in 2007. "This is a 2008 process. It ought to start in 2008," he said.
Culver said Iowa would work with New Hampshire officials to find mutually agreeable dates for their contests and acknowledged that both states might need to be flexible in terms of the spacing between the caucuses and the primary -- by Iowa law eight days -- and the days of the week when the events are held. He also said Iowa officials will take into account holiday travel and disruptions and seek to avoid scheduling the caucuses on New Year's day.
Asked if he expects the Nevada caucuses to be held between events in Iowa and New Hampshire, he said, "They are now." Asked if he cared whether that remains the case, he said, "I do care."
-- Dan Balz
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