Nevada Ready To Cave In Primary Scheduling Dispute?

It looks like the dispute between Nevada and New Hampshire over primary scheduling is going to be resolved:

Gov. Brian Sandoval doesn’t have the official last word on telling the state party whether to stick to its guns or bend to national GOP pressure to move its caucus date back to February.

But as the top Republican in the state, many in Nevada are looking to him for a signal.

On Thursday, he indicated he was ready to cave to national party pressure and move Nevada’s caucuses after the other early contests — though that’s not how he wanted to characterize it.

“I don’t think it’s caving at all,” Sandoval said of the idea of moving Nevada’s caucuses from Jan. 14, when currently scheduled, to Feb. 4. “I don’t call it caving when you’re trying to work for the good of all.”

Nevada moved its caucuses from February to January this month, after Florida jumped ahead of other states’ nominating contests by advancing its primary from March 6 to Jan. 31, breaking Republican National Committee rules.

But Nevada has come under fire from New Hampshire Secretary of State Bill Gardner. His state will likely have to hold its “first-in-the-nation” primary on Jan. 10. New Hampshire state law says no other state can hold its priamary or caucuses within seven days of New Hampshire’s primary. Nevada’s current date would fall within that window.

National Republicans, meanwhile, have been trying to strike a deal with Nevada. In exchange for moving its caucuses back to early February, it would be assured to be third in the nation in 2016 — even though that’s what Nevada was supposed to be guaranteed in the 2012 cycle.

This may actually work out to Nevada’s advantage. Between the Florida primary at the end of January and the primaries that start the first Tuesday in March, the primary calendar is basically blank. Nevada would be the sole major contest in February, meaning that it’s likely to get a lot more media attention than it might being sandwiched in between Iowa/New Hampshire and South Carolina.

Final decision will come tomorrow, but with the Governor calling for the date to be moved, it seems that’s exactly what will happen.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2012, Quick Takes, US Politics
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed for too young in July 2021.


  1. Moosebreath says:

    “Nevada would be the sole major contest in February”

    You appear to have a different concept of “major” than I do.

  2. Brett says:

    This is so stupid. Why do both parties continue to indulge Iowa and New Hampshire in their silly “we must be first” obsession? They should be coercing both states to move their contests back into a closer line with the rest (or moving all of them to a narrower time frame).