Indecision 2007? With Primaries Moved Up, Journos Face Sad Holidays

By: Voting for the 2008 presidential race could begin later this year.

That's one potential scenario in the fallout from South Carolina Republicans' decision Thursday to hold their presidential primary earlier than planned ? on Jan. 19 of next year.

Given that change, New Hampshire will be forced to move its primary to at least Jan. 12 under a state law that requires it to protect its first-in-the-nation primary status.

If that occurs, Iowa then would have to, under its law, shift its leadoff caucuses, too. To avoid the holidays, it's possible Iowa could choose a mid-December date.

"Not only is this unprecedented, what's also unprecedented is the number of journalists who could spend Thanksgiving in Iowa and Christmas in New Hampshire," said Ken Mehlman, a former Republican National Committee chairman.

Iowa left little doubt it would do whatever necessary to ensure it kicks off the nominating process as it has for three decades. Said Gov. Chet Culver, a Democrat: "Iowa will go first, that is the bottom line."


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