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Nevada Leapfrogs South Carolina

The primary calendar isn't set in stone yet, but we are getting closer. A new surprise is that Nevada has leapfrogged South Carolina and moved into the #3 position. Here is the almost-final calendar:

January-February Republican primary calendar

One (important) thing to keep in mind is that primaries are run (and paid for) by the states. Caucuses are run (and paid for) by the parties. The presence or absence of a caucus is determined by the DNC or RNC. The presence or absence of a primary is determined by the state legislature. Usually, but not always, these folks are on the same page. But as you see above, that is not true of Nevada. The party wants a caucus on Feb. 8 but the legislature passed a law holding a primary on Feb. 6. It is expected that the Republicans will ignore it. If zero or one Republican files to run in it, the primary will be canceled. In addition, since the RNC has decreed that the delegates to the convention will be determined by the caucuses, not the primary, there isn't a lot of incentive for anyone to file and potentially annoy the RNC.

Also note that the date of the New Hampshire primary hasn't been set yet. The secretary of state has the full power to choose the date on his own. Traditionally it is on the Tuesday in the week after the Iowa caucuses, but Sec. David Scanlan (R) is free to pick a different date if he prefers. He probably won't, though.

This schedule leaves a week after New Hampshire for candidates to decide to drop out to spend more time with their families. The week after Nevada, the candidates who are still in there can decide to drop out for personal reasons. Then South Carolina will probably knock off a couple more. Super Tuesday is March 5. By the day after, we should have a good idea who is still standing and what their prospects are.

The Democrats' calendar is not settled yet because they want to demote both Iowa and New Hampshire and the Democratic Parties in those states have little to no interest in being demoted. Also, the Democrats have no control over the date of the South Carolina primary, which they want to go first, because the Republicans have the trifecta in the Palmetto Bug State. (V)

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