Gardner sets NH primary for January 10

Alexis Levinson Political Reporter
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New Hampshire Secretary of State Bill Gardner announced Wednesday that the New Hampshire primary would be held on Tuesday, January 10, 2012.

The date locates New Hampshire’s primary exactly seven days after the Iowa caucuses, and seven days before the South Carolina primary, abiding by a state law that requires that there be seven days between New Hampshire’s primary and any other “similar election.”

Gardner explained to The Daily Caller in October that this rule was to allow for the possibility that if a less well-known candidate were to win or exceed expectations in New Hampshire, that person would have time to capitalize on that momentum before the next contest.

Gardner, who has served as New Hampshire’s  secretary of state since 1976, has sole control over setting the date of the primary. He caused something of a brouhaha last month when he threatened to move the primary to December of 2011 to ensure its first-in-the-nation status and meet all required state laws. At the time, Nevada had its caucuses scheduled for January 14, which would not permit New Hampshire to have the required seven day buffer if it held its primary in January. (RELATED: New Hampshire Sec. of State Bill Gardner always gets his way)

Several candidates said they would boycott Nevada’s caucuses if Gardner’s demands that the caucuses be moved back were not met, and under pressure from the Republican National Committee and New Hampshire Republicans, the Nevada Republican Party ultimately conceded and moved its primary to February 4, relinquishing its coveted spot as one of the first four primary or caucus states.

The original source of the primary scheduling chaos was Florida’s decision to move its primary to January 31, ahead of when the early states had planned to hold their contests. The subsequent adjustment of dates in the early states set the state for New Hampshire’s conflict with Nevada.

“It is my honor and privilege to say this morning the tradition of the New Hampshire primary lives on,” Gardner told the crowd Wednesday morning at his State House office, according to WMUR.

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