Us first

The 2012 presidential caucuses are already causing interstate tensions.

In Nevada, the Democratic caucuses will likely be a non-story this time around—the party already has its candidate—which will elevate the attention the Republican caucuses get.

The state GOP chose Feb. 18 for its caucuses, which is giving New Hampshirites difficulty digesting their food. “Candidates run here not just because we’re first, but because they get a launch here and benefit from that launch because there is no other major event for at least a week,” said New Hampshire state legislator Jim Splaine, explaining how New Hampshire owns the start of the presidential nominating process.

Because New Hampshire has scheduled its primary for Feb. 14, four days before the Nevada caucuses, state law will require the New Hampshire secretary of state to put back the date of the primary another three days so there is a full week between the two states. That, in turn, would put New Hampshire just one day after the Iowa caucuses.

In the Union Leader, New Hampshire’s only newspaper circulated statewide, reporter John DiStaso wrote, “If Iowa jumped ahead to keep eight days ahead of New Hampshire, it would have to hold its caucuses on Jan. 30, and that would conflict with the rules of both political parties, which want to avoid having caucuses or primaries that month. The idea behind the February start is to avoid the ‘bumping’ and leapfrogging that in 2008 resulted in an Iowa caucus and New Hampshire primary immediately after the holidays.”

The national political parties succeeded in pushing the first presidential nominating events a month later into the year, but if New Hampshire and Iowa move theirs to earlier dates that could partially defeat their efforts.