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October 19, 2017

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NH secretary of state: No rush to set primary date, would take “extraordinary circumstances” to not go on a Tuesday

New Hampshire Secretary of State Bill Gardner said this morning that despite Nevada’s choosing Jan. 14 for its caucus, he will not set the first-in-the-nation primary for some time.

Gardner, indicating that he is not sure the other states after New Hampshire are locked in, said, “There are a number of factors that come into play when you push states back. They all matter to me.”

Gardner mentioned priests who have talked to him about the Julian calendar and pleas from orthodox Jews who don’t want to vote on Saturday. The New Hampshire primary has always been on a Tuesday, but Gardner previously told me he would consider moving to another day. He said today, however, that it would take “extraordinary circumstances” to change the Tuesday tradition, indicating he has Jan. 3 in mind to adhere to a state law that mandates New Hampshire go at least seven days before any other state. If so, that would push Iowa into 2011.

This is further complicated by Iowa indicating it may set its date first – in early January – according to what Iowa GOP Chairman Matthew Strawn told Chuck Todd this morning on MSNBC’s “The Daily Rundown.” What if Iowa goes the first week in January? What does Gardner do then?

”There’s all kind of variables, Gardner told me this morning.

Gardner said he has set the primary date much later in the season in the past and that he has “never set the date and then changed it.” He seems to be awaiting court challenges or Republican National Committee pressure or any other deus ex machina that could still affect the chaotic calendar.

“The folks in Iowa and I have been through this before,” Gardner said matter-of-factly.

Meanwhile, Nevada GOP Chairwoman Amy Tarkanian is scheduled to discuss Nevada’s decision tonight on “Face to Face.”

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