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Top One Magazine

Start your engines: Iowa GOP schedules presidential caucuses for Jan. 15

Next year’s Iowa Republican presidential caucuses will be held in mid-January, about three weeks earlier than the past two primary cycles, state GOP officials announced Saturday.

The first-in-the-nation caucuses will take place on Jan. 15, 2024, following a vote from Iowa’s state Republican Party central committee. Jan. 15, a Monday, is a federal holiday: Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

That’s earlier than in both 2020 and 2016, when the caucuses were held on the first Monday in February. But it’s about two weeks later than 2012 and 2008, when the caucuses were held just two days after New Year’s Day.

Iowa’s move — combined with Democrats’ efforts to remake their early-state order to begin with South Carolina — means the New Hampshire primary will most likely be held on Tuesday, Jan. 23, eight days after the Iowa caucuses.

But for the race for the Republican presidential nomination, that could leave a long gap between Iowa and New Hampshire, at the beginning, and the rest of the contests. The state GOP in South Carolina — another of the four traditional, early “carve-out” states that the Republican National Committee says can host the first nominating contests — last month set its primary date for Feb. 24.

Nevada, the fourth state, is almost certain to hold its caucuses sometime in February, but its plans have not been finalized yet.

Following those four states, Michigan is a possibility to slide into the fifth spot with a Feb. 27 primary. Otherwise, more than a dozen states are expected to vote the following week, March 5, on “Super Tuesday,” including delegate-rich California and Texas.

While there’s less attention this cycle on the Democratic nomination, Iowa’s state Democratic Party had said it intends to hold its caucuses on the same day as the Republicans. Rita Hart, the state Democratic chairwoman, said her party had no input on the Republicans’ date and would continue to pursue a caucus that allowed more Democrats to participate than the traditional, only-in-person meetings.

“No matter what, Iowa Democrats are committed to moving forward with the most inclusive caucus process in Iowa’s history,” Hart said in a statement.

The Democratic National Committee, in picking South Carolina to go first and both Nevada and New Hampshire to follow second, has said Iowa would not be in compliance with its delegate rules if it holds caucuses on Jan. 15, nor would New Hampshire’s state-run primary if it was held on Jan. 23.

But since the South Carolina state Democratic Party intends to hold its party-run primary on Saturday, Feb. 3, New Hampshire’s state law says its primary must be held at least seven days prior to any other primary. That is what is likely to trigger the move up to Jan. 23. (Because Iowa holds caucuses and not a primary, New Hampshire can hold its primary after.)

In a statement, Iowa state GOP chair Jeff Kaufmann said the date honors “our half-century-old promises to the other carveout states.”

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