South Carolina Prompts Primary Chaos

SC to jump to January, pushing primary schedule as early as December
By Peter Fearon,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 9, 2007 5:14 AM CDT
Republican presidential hopeful former Sen. Fred Thompson, R-Tenn., center, looks to his wife, Jeri Thompson, right, after speaking at a South Carolina Republican Party fundraiser, in Columbia, S.C.,...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – South Carolina's Republican Party is about to shift its primary to January 19, triggering a chain reaction of primary rescheduling that is infuriating candidates and campaign managers, the Washington Post reports. The New Hampshire primary will likely be rescheduled for early January and the Iowa caucuses as early as December. Other states, seeking to make their primaries more important, are also still angling for early dates.

The date shifting, begun by Florida, has created the longest election season in history—and cast a shadow of uncertainty over campaigns. "If you facing a moving chess board it's difficult to know where to make your first move," said one expert. Both national party committees have threatened to punish state parties changing primaries by blocking some delegates to the national conventions.