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POLITICS:

Herman Cain first of GOP frontrunners to join call for Nevada caucus boycott

Cain

AP Photo/Mike Munden

Republican presidential candidate businessman Herman Cain speaks during a “Faith and Freedom” rally at Ohio Christian University on Thursday, Oct. 13, 2011 in Circleville, Ohio.

WASHINGTON - Herman Cain has joined the group of Republican presidential candidates calling for a boycott of the Nevada party caucuses in January unless Nevada moves its date to accommodate New Hampshire's demands for its own primary.

A spokesman for Cain confirmed Friday afternoon that “Yes,” Cain would join the Nevada boycott call, “if it interferes with the first in the nation primary in New Hampshire.”

Cain is the first of the frontrunners, and the first of the candidates with a ground operation in the state, to threaten to skip the big show.

The four designated early caucus and primary states, Nevada, Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina, have moved their contest dates up in the last two weeks, after Florida bucked the rules by announcing it would move its primary from March 6 to January 31.

Nevada picked Jan. 14, South Carolina picked Jan. 21, and Iowa picked Jan. 3. That leaves New Hampshire with Jan. 10 -- but that date would only leave a five-day window between its primary and the Nevada caucus. New Hampshire law state that its primary must come at least 7 days before “any similar contest.”

New Hampshire Secretary of State Bill Gardner, who has been singlehandedly setting the New Hampshire primary date since 1976, said it was “up to Nevada” to move its date to preserve the tradition of leading the nation, even though Nevada isn’t subject to the laws of New Hampshire.

Cain joins Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum, and Jon Huntsman, who made the original boycott call, in shunning the Silver State primary unless it changes its date. A spokesman for Gingrich today pleaded for an accord, however, so that a boycott would not be necessary.

Mitt Romney, Ron Paul and Rick Perry have declined to join the boycott movement thus far, while a spokeswoman for Michele Bachmann said she would honor the New Hampshire primary, but wouldn’t weigh in on the boycott question.

Romney won the Nevada caucuses of 2008 with over 50 percent of the vote, while Paul came in second. Perry has already secured the endorsement of Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval.

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