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August 18, 2022

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Newt Gingrich asks states to sort out caucus/primary schedule, will join Las Vegas debate

Newt Gingrich-Sharron Angle Rally

Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich campaigns for Sharron Angle during his Jobs Here, Jobs Now nationwide tour Oct. 21, 2010, at the JW Marriott in Las Vegas.

Jon Huntsman’s call for a boycott of the Nevada Caucus by the Republican presidential field seems to have gone too far for Newt Gingrich, is asking for cooperation that will make a boycott “unnecessary.”

"Newt will debate in Nevada on Tuesday and is hopeful a boycott will be unnecessary because states will work out a schedule,” Gingrich’s spokesman R.C. Hammond said today. “With five Tuesdays on the calendar in January, it is still very possible for Nevada and New Hampshire to work out an agreement that allows each of the five early states to hold a January contest. Holding the first five contests in January 2012 is fair to every candidate in the race and would protect each state's important role in the nominating process."

There was no mention of New Hampshire’s seven-day rule, the provision that set off the controversy. Under New Hampshire law, its primary needs to be at least seven days before any similar election in another state, but the Saturday Nevada selected for its caucuses -- Jan. 14 -- is too close to the Tuesday New Hampshire wanted for its primaries -- Jan. 10.

Nevada and New Hampshire, along with South Carolina and Iowa, all decided to move their primary and caucus dates to January after Florida voted to break Republican National Committee rules and schedule its primary for Jan. 31 (it had been scheduled for March 6). All five states will lose half their delegates to the national convention for going before February.

But it’s not just the effort to be first that has caused this problem.

Back in the summer, the Nevada GOP voted to schedule its caucuses on the Saturday following whatever Tuesday New Hampshire decided to hold its primaries: a five-day window.

Nobody said boo.

But there’s been plenty of crying foul recently, as New Hampshire Secretary of State Bill Gardner tries to force Nevada’s hand with the help of public pressure from the candidates, in the form of a boycott that so far, has Huntsman, Santorum, and an increasingly reluctant Gingrich on board.

None of the frontrunners have responded to calls to follow suit.

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