The Green Papers News

Iowa and New Hampshire settle tiff over first-in-the-nation status
Friday, October 22, 1999

"Republican and Democratic leaders in Iowa agreed this week that the Iowa Caucuses WILL be moved up one week to Monday 24 January 2000 to accommodate the New Hampshire Primary having been moved up to Tuesday 1 February in anticipation of an early February primary in Delaware. Most political observers note that this was not much of a surprise as Iowa state law requires that the caucuses be at least 8 days before the New Hampshire primary.

The move ends a nearly month-long tiff between the two states, primarily between each state's Democratic party officials. Many observers have noted that the dispute between the states was something of a staged one between party officials associated with both Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack and New Hampshire Jeanne Shaheen. The spouses of both Governors are known to be strong supporters of Vice President Al Gore and, had the Iowa Caucuses been held one day before the New Hampshire primary, it could have conceivably weakened any building momentum for Gore's chief rival for the nomination, former New Jersey Senator Bill Bradley. This is the third time that the Iowa Caucuses, originally scheduled for Monday 21 February 2000, have had to be moved up. They were first moved to Monday 7 February after New Hampshire began moving its primary earlier into February from its original scheduled date of Tuesday 29 February 2000. Until this agreement between the two major parties in Iowa, the caucuses were to be held on Monday 31 January.

The Iowa decision also guarantees that the so-called "first-in-the-nation caucuses" in Louisiana will be held on Saturday 22 January, as Louisiana law requires them to be on the Saturday preceding the Iowa caucuses. Alaska's GOP caucuses and straw poll, always scheduled for 24 January, will now share that date with Iowa."

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