Nevada Republicans shift date of state’s presidential caucuses back to Feb. 4

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LAS VEGAS—Nevada Republicans decided Saturday to shift the date of the state’s presidential caucuses back to Feb. 4 and avoid penalties from the national party for meddling with the election calendar.

It was only about two weeks ago when state party leaders set Jan. 14 for the nominating contest. They said moving the date would still give the state a big early role in determining the nominee.

But the move jumbled the election calendar and led New Hampshire to threaten to move its contest to the December holiday season.

Nevada’s January date also risked violating national-party rules on nominating contests and the state could have lost delegates to the convention next year.

More than 200 members of the state party, meeting in Las Vegas, agreed to return the caucuses to February.

New Hampshire’s secretary of state, Bill Gardner, had threatened to hold his state’s primary in early December to avoid wedging it between the Iowa caucuses on Jan. 3 and the Jan. 14 vote in Nevada.

Several Republican presidential candidates, including former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman and businessman Herman Cain, pledged their support to New Hampshire and said they would boycott Nevada’s contest if it wasn’t pushed back. That led the Republican National Committee to suggest that Nevada move to Feb. 4.

Nevada, Iowa and South Carolina moved their contests into January after Florida said it would violate national party rules and hold its primary on Jan. 31.

But only Nevada was subject to boycott threats that Nevada Republicans initially laughed off, but reconsidered after the national chairman, Reince Priebus, began calling for a compromise.