Iowa’s move — combined with Democrats’ efforts to remake their early-state order to begin with South Carolina — means the New Hampshire primary will most likely be held on Tuesday, Jan. 23, eight days after the Iowa caucuses.
But for the race for the Republican presidential nomination, that could leave a long gap between Iowa and New Hampshire, at the beginning, and the rest of the contests. The state GOP in South Carolina — another of the four traditional, early “carve-out” states that the Republican National Committee says can host the first nominating contests — last month set its primary date for Feb. 24.
Nevada, the fourth state, is almost certain to hold its caucuses sometime in February, but its plans have not been finalized yet.
Following those four states, Michigan is a possibility to slide into the fifth spot with a Feb. 27 primary. Otherwise, more than a dozen states are expected to vote the following week, March 5, on “Super Tuesday,” including delegate-rich California and Texas.
While there’s less attention this cycle on the Democratic nomination, Iowa’s state Democratic Party had said it intends to hold its caucuses on the same day as the Republicans. A state Democratic Party spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The Democratic National Committee, in picking South Carolina to go first and both Nevada and New Hampshire to follow second, has said Iowa would not be in compliance with its delegate rules if it holds caucuses on Jan. 15, nor would New Hampshire’s state-run primary if it was held on Jan. 23.
But since the South Carolina state Democratic Party intends to hold its party-run primary on Saturday, Feb. 3, New Hampshire’s state law says its primary must be held at least seven days prior to any other primary. That is what is likely to trigger the move up to Jan. 23. (Because Iowa holds caucuses and not a primary, New Hampshire can hold its primary after.)
In a statement, Iowa state GOP chair Jeff Kaufmann said the date honors “our half-century-old promises to the other carveout states.”