New Hampshire Primary Date – New Hampshire Secretary of State Bill Gardner on Wednesday declared victory in his quadrennial battle of wills over the presidential nominating calendar and announced the first primary date will be Jan. 10. Gardner said, during a press conference at the state capitol in Concord.
“It’s my honor and privilege to say that the tradition of the New Hampshire primary will live on,” Gardner said.
The selection was no surprise, as Gardner made clear it was his intention all along, despite bluffs that he might jump ahead of Iowa into December or schedule the vote on a day of the week other than Tuesday. “I was sort of on the edge of a cliff,” Gardner said of his threats to move the primary into December. “I was hoping that if I had to move, that there would be a puddle of water to jump into if necessary.”
With Garnder’s Jan. 10 selection, the GOP primary calendar is complete. Iowa will hold its caucuses Jan. 3, followed a week later by New Hampshire. South Carolina will hold its primaries Jan. 21, and Florida, the unwelcome entry into the early-state club, will vote Jan. 31.
Nevada will hold caucuses Feb. 4, but only after the state’s GOP suffered a total capitulation to Gardner. Nevada Republicans, awarded one of the four coveted early-state slots by the Democratic and Republican national committees, tried legally tethering their caucus date to the Saturday after the New Hampshire primary. But Gardner first refused to discuss scheduling strategy, then threatened a December primary and encouraged a proposed candidate boycott of Nevada.
Jon Huntsman, who boycotted a presidential debate in Nevada out of support for New Hampshire, welcomed the announcement. “I look forward to competing in this great American tradition, the ‘First in the Nation’ primary, on Jan. 10. Bill Gardner has done an excellent job protecting this sacred status and I have been proud to stand with him since Day One in support of New Hampshire’s rightful place in this process,” he said in a statement.
This year’s Super Tuesday falls on March 6, when Georgia, Massachusetts, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont and Virginia hold primaries. Idaho and North Dakota will hold caucuses.
If the nominee is not decided by then, the next significant date is April 1. Per RNC rules, states that award delegates before April 1 must do so proportionally, in theory limiting the influence of winning any particular state. States that award delegates after April 1 can be winner-take-all.