The guessing is over. It's official: The Iowa caucuses will be held Jan. 3.
“On behalf of over 600,000 Iowa Republicans, I’m excited to announce the first step Iowans will have to replace Barack Obama and his failed presidency will be next Jan. 3 at our First in the Nation Iowa Caucuses,” Iowa GOP Party Chairman Matt Strawn said in a statement.
“A Jan. 3 date provides certainty to the voters, to our presidential candidates, and to the thousands of statewide volunteers who make the caucus process a reflection of the very best of our representative democracy,” he said.
The caucuses will be held more than a month earlier than planned, but they come on precisely the same date as in 2008, when turnout was substantially higher than expected.
The game of voting-day leapfrog had Iowans nervous that the caucuses could be held before Christmas -- and even as soon as the week after Thanksgiving.
Uncertainty over the date also kept candidates from booking ballrooms, precinct captains from finding caucus locations and campaign workers -- and journalists -- from making holiday plans. Now, even the time is known: The caucusing is set to begin at 7 p.m.
To preserve its status as the earliest of the early voting states, Iowa had no choice but to move its date. Florida and Nevada, in violation of GOP rules, moved their primary dates, causing a chain reaction with New Hampshire and South Carolina, which traditionally follow Iowa's vote. it will hold its primary before Florida and to hold its in December.
“At a time when more and more Americans feel disconnected from our national leaders, we need places like Iowa and New Hampshire that require those who seek to lead us, actually meet us, look us in the eye and listen to our hopes and concerns for our families and our nation,” he said.
Strawn was anything but conciliatory toward Florida and Nevada.
“I will do everything in my power on the RNC to hold Florida accountable for creating this mess, but the culpability for creating a compressed January calendar does not end there," he said. "The actions of early state newcomer Nevada have also exacerbated this problem and unnecessarily crowded the January calendar. Time remains for Nevada to respect the process, honor tradition and rectify the problem in a way that will restore order to the nomination calendar."