New Hampshire fights challenge to status as the primary primary

"Dysfunctional" is the adjective commonly used to describe Washington's gridlocked federal politics. Now dysfunction has spread to individual states.

Once again, they are squabbling over the timetable for the upcoming primaries to choose the Republican opponent to face Barack Obama in November next year. As a result, New Hampshire's 2012 vote, which traditionally kicks off the primary season, may be held in early December... 2011.

Such at least is the threat levelled by William Gardner, New Hampshire's chief administrative official. If other early voting states do not rearrange their calendars to Mr Gardner's satisfaction, then New Hampshire would push its date forward. "Tuesday, 13 December, and Tuesday, 6 December are realistic options," he said in a statement.

The proximate reason why the first 2012 vote that matters may now be just seven weeks off is Nevada's decision to move its caucuses to 14 January. That, Mr Gardner complains, would leave New Hampshire wedged between Iowa (whose caucuses are likely to open the voting season on 3 January) and Nevada, with its importance diminished. But the real culprit is Florida, which last month defied an agreement that the Republican National Committee thought it had in place – for Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada to hold their respective caucuses and primaries in February, with other states following in the months thereafter.

Florida upset the apple cart by moving its primary to 31 January, arguing that it was a large swing state crucial in general elections, whose importance should be reflected by an early position in the schedule. In response, Nevada, South Carolina and Iowa moved their votes forward. Now New Hampshire has joined them.

The real reason for Florida's behaviour is jealousy. Why should a small, unrepresentative place like New Hampshire get all the attention?

The grumbling is understandable. The presidential primary is a four-yearly publicity and financial gold mine for New Hampshire. While the Iowa caucuses mark the start of the GOP candidate selection process, it is the New Hampshire primary that generates massive media coverage – as much as all the subsequent primaries combined.

Underpinning everything is the New Hampshire mystique – its brand of retail politics where voters meet candidates and discuss issues in depth provides a better barometer of the national mood than campaigns where money and advertising are all-important. No less important to throw up winners.

That last rule, that no one captures the White House without winning the New Hampshire primary, no longer holds. Bill Clinton was defeated in 1992, eight years later George W Bush was trounced, and in 2008 Barack Obama was beaten by Hillary Clinton. But all three losers ended up as President.

Timetable: Battle of the Ballot

Tentative schedule for the 2011-12 primary elections:

New Hampshire: December?

Iowa: 3 Jan

Nevada: 14 Jan

South Carolina: 21 Jan

Florida: 31 Jan

Super Tuesday: 6 Mar



2008 schedule



Iowa: 3 Jan

New Hampshire: 8 Jan

Nevada: 19 Jan

South Carolina: 19 Jan

Florida: 29 Jan

Super Tuesday: 5 Feb



2004 schedule



Iowa: 19 Jan

New Hampshire: 27 Jan

Nevada: 14 Feb

South Carolina: 3 Feb

Super Tuesday: 3 Feb

Florida: 9 Mar

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
Extras
indybest
Travel
Flocking round: Beyoncé, Madame Tussauds' latest waxwork, looking fierce in the park
travelIn a digital age when we have more access than ever to the stars, why are waxworks still pulling in crowds?
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Judi Dench appeared at the Hay Festival to perform excerpts from Shakespearean plays
tvJudi Dench and Hugh Bonneville join Benedict Cumberbatch in BBC Shakespeare adaptations
Sport
Is this how Mario Balotelli will cruise into Liverpool?
football
News
Ronahi Serhat, a PKK fighter, in the Qandil Mountains in Iraqi Kurdistan
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Poet’s corner: Philip Larkin at the venetian window of his home in 1958
booksOr caring, playful man who lived for others? A new book has the answer
Arts and Entertainment
Exhibition at the Centre Pompidou in Metz - 23 May 2012
art
News
Matthew McConaughey and his son Levi at the game between the Boston Red Sox and the Houston Astros at Fenway Park on August 17, 2014 in Boston, Massachusetts.
advertisingOscar-winner’s Lincoln deal is latest in a lucrative ad production line
Life and Style
Pick of the bunch: Sudi Pigott puts together roasted tomatoes with peppers, aubergines and Labneh cheese for a tomato-inspired vegetarian main dish
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
Alfred Molina, left, and John Lithgow in a scene from 'Love Is Strange'
film
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Junior Quant Analyst - C++, Boost, Data Mining

£25000 - £35000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Junior Quant Analyst - C++, Boost...

Service Desk Analyst- (Desktop Support, Help desk)

£25000 - £35000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Service Desk Analyst- (Desktop Su...

Junior Quant Analyst (Machine Learning, SQL, Brokerage)

£30000 - £50000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Junior Quant Analyst (Machine Lea...

UNIX Application Support Analyst- Support, UNIX, London

£45000 - £55000 per annum: Harrington Starr: UNIX Application Support Analyst-...

Day In a Page

Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

The President came the nearest he has come yet to rivalling George W Bush’s gormless reaction to 9/11 , says Robert Fisk
Ebola outbreak: Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on the virus

Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on Ebola

A Christian charity’s efforts to save missionaries trapped in Africa by the crisis have been justifiably praised. But doubts remain about its evangelical motives
Jeremy Clarkson 'does not see a problem' with his racist language on Top Gear, says BBC

Not even Jeremy Clarkson is bigger than the BBC, says TV boss

Corporation’s head of television confirms ‘Top Gear’ host was warned about racist language
Nick Clegg the movie: Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise

Nick Clegg the movie

Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise
Philip Larkin: Misogynist, racist, miserable? Or caring, playful man who lived for others?

Philip Larkin: What will survive of him?

Larkin's reputation has taken a knocking. But a new book by James Booth argues that the poet was affectionate, witty, entertaining and kind, as hitherto unseen letters, sketches and 'selfies' reveal
Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?

Waxing lyrical

Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?
Texas forensic astronomer finally pinpoints the exact birth of impressionism

Revealed (to the minute)

The precise time when impressionism was born
From slow-roasted to sugar-cured: how to make the most of the British tomato season

Make the most of British tomatoes

The British crop is at its tastiest and most abundant. Sudi Pigott shares her favourite recipes
10 best men's skincare products

Face it: 10 best men's skincare products

Oscar Quine cleanses, tones and moisturises to find skin-savers blokes will be proud to display on the bathroom shelf
Malky Mackay allegations: Malky Mackay, Iain Moody and another grim day for English football

Mackay, Moody and another grim day for English football

The latest shocking claims do nothing to dispel the image that some in the game on these shores exist in a time warp, laments Sam Wallace
La Liga analysis: Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

Pete Jenson starts his preview of the Spanish season, which begins on Saturday, by explaining how Fifa’s transfer ban will affect the Catalans
Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape