Las Vegas Sun

July 18, 2019

Currently: 102° — Complete forecast

Nevada GOP officials considering resetting Jan. 14 caucuses

Primary scramble

AP Photo/Julie Jacobson, File

In this Sept. 6, 2011, file photo Republican presidential hopeful former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney talks about his plan for creating jobs and improving the economy during a speech in Las Vegas at McCandless International Trucks. While Iowa and New Hampshire get the bulk of their attention, Republican presidential candidates are starting to step up their activity in the state that votes next in the string of nominating contests and whose caucuses could scramble the GOP race.

GOP Presidential Debate

Mitt Romney and Rick Perry take part in the GOP presidential debate sponsored by CNN on Tuesday, Oct. 18, 2011, at the Venetian. Launch slideshow »

Sun Coverage

LAS VEGAS — Nevada Republican leaders are reconsidering their Jan. 14 caucus date following a call from New Hampshire state officials for presidential primary candidates to boycott the western state — or risk losing support.

Nevada GOP Chairwoman Amy Tarkanian told The Associated Press Wednesday that state Republican leaders could reset the date amid concerns that New Hampshire might hold its first-in-the-nation primary in early December.

Nevada's decision came hours after a coalition of New Hampshire Republicans — including state and federal legislators, tea party activists and key conservatives — called on Mitt Romney, Rick Perry and Ron Paul to join four other candidates in boycotting Nevada until it pushed its caucus date back four days to Jan. 17.

"We stand here today to make it very clear to our friends in Nevada, Florida and any other state that would challenge our position that we will not go quietly into the night," said Jennifer Horn, who organized Wednesday's news conference. "New Hampshire's first in the nation primary is here to stay and is entirely nonnegotiable."

New Hampshire Secretary of State Bill Gardner has the sole power to select the state's primary date. He said last week he is prepared to hold the contest in early December rather than squeeze New Hampshire between the Iowa caucuses on Jan. 3 and Nevada's caucuses. New Hampshire state law requires its primaries to be held at least seven days ahead of any similar contest.

At the news conference, several coalition members said they would think twice about supporting a candidate who won't side with New Hampshire.

Tea party activist Andrew Hemingway accused Romney of pushing Nevada to encroach on New Hampshire's position and saying he wouldn't support any candidate who campaigns in Nevada.

"It's not an issue of this is a New Hampshire ego trip," Hemingway said. "This is a matter of democracy."

He and others argued that New Hampshire gives lesser-known and lesser-funded candidates a chance to be heard. They urged New Hampshire residents to sign an online petition and to call candidates to urge them to join the boycott.

Nevada party leaders could decide to reschedule the caucuses before Saturday, when the rank-and-file are set to vote on the matter at a central committee meeting in Las Vegas. Some party members want the date moved to Jan. 17 to make New Hampshire happy. Others want to move the contest to Feb. 4 to comply with national committee rules and avoid losing any delegates during the national Republican convention in Tampa next year.

Meanwhile Nevada Democrats announced Tuesday they were moving their primary to Jan. 14 to encourage Republicans to stand firm.

Join the Discussion:

Check this out for a full explanation of our conversion to the LiveFyre commenting system and instructions on how to sign up for an account.

Full comments policy