After a contentious back and forth with New Hampshire, and some criticism from state and national Republicans that even led one candidate for president to skip the Las Vegas debate, Nevada has confirmed that the state's caucus will be moved back to Feb. 4. The Las Vegas Sun on the state's move back to February after originally moving their caucus to January 14 just days within of the heralded New Hampshire primary:
"'We just basically want to be the adults in the room here,' Nevada GOP chairwoman Amy Tarkanian said. 'This has turned into a huge debacle... It’s unnecessary, it’s turned into a distraction.'
'We will be the good guys in the end because we don’t need to be New Hampshire’s piñata,' she said.
By making the switch, Nevada will now be holding its caucuses four days after Florida holds its primaries on Jan. 31. But by making the switch, Nevada remains the first electoral contest in the West, and gets its full complement of delegates back, as well as a promise from the Republican National Committee that the state will have top-priority seats at the convention, as well as 'the best hotel,' Tarkanian said."
Nevada had originally set its primary to January 14 after Florida had moved their primary ahead of Nevada's original caucus date. The Nevada move, however, interfered with a New Hampshire state law that insists no other state hold its primary or caucus within seven days of the New Hampshire contest. The New Hampshire primary was planned for January 10, but the state had threatened to move that date to December if Nevada did not accomodate. With Nevada's move now back to February, the Silver State caucus is still behind Florida, Iowa and New Hampshire primaries.
The Sun writes that after the national rebuke to the orignal January move, Nevada GOP officials voted to move the date back to February but without first expressing some distaste for their fellow state GOP leaders:
"'All of this started with Florida and their ego problem,' said national committeewoman Heidi Smith, who said she would personally recommend any state who breaks the RNC's rules in the future loses two-thirds of their delegates, gets no place to stay during the party convention, and loses their VIP passes."
POLITICO writes that half the Republican field pledged to boycott the Nevada caucuses if they remained on Jan. 14, and that the last straw came when RNC Chairman Reince Priebus delivered the message, both in person and in writing, that Nevada needed to move to February. Presidential candidate Jon Huntsman, former governor of nearby Utah, had already boycotted the Las Vegas debate last week.
“This change ensures that Nevada retains its prominent national role, as the first contest in the West and it restores Nevada’s full slate of delegates to the Republican National Convention,” RNC Chairman Reince Priebus said in a statement in regards to the caucus move. “With this decision Nevada will receive the attention it deserves, and the national spotlight will focus clearly on the devastating effects that President Obama’s economic policies have had on the Silver State.”
Priebus noted in his letter to Tarkanian Thursday, that the move will indeed allow state officials priority for VIP suites and hotels in Tampa.