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Man With a Primary Plan in N.H.:
'I'm Just Going to Wait'

[Photo]

The date of the New Hampshire Primary will be ... well, we're still not sure. Probably January 8, but that's written in pencil. There's nothing to do but wait, and wonder, and occasionally call up Bill Gardner, the New Hampshire Secretary of State, to figure out what he's thinking.

We caught up with Gardner - who has Caesar-like power to set the date of the primary -- by cellphone Friday afternoon as he returned to the Granite State from a trip to Washington.

He's still waiting, he said, to find out what the Michigan Democrats are going to do.

"Until there's some semblance of finality, I'm just going to wait," he said.

In theory he could schedule the primary in December, but he said that's increasingly unlikely with each passing day.

He said a while back that he wouldn't hold the primary later than January 8, but there has been some speculation in New Hampshire that he might nudge it a day or two later than that to allow his state to be the center of the universe for a little bit longer after the Jan. 3 Iowa caucuses. He shot down that speculation Friday. The 8th is a Tuesday, and "that's our traditional day." He'd only move it from a Tuesday under "extraordinary circumstances," he said. For example, he wouldn't hold a primary on Tuesday the 1st, because that's New Year's Day. Or on Tuesday the 25th of December, because that's Christmas. And last we checked, Jan. 8th wasn't a national holiday.

--Joel Achenbach

By Washington Post editors  |  November 16, 2007; 4:53 PM ET
 
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