Opinion: Breaking News: Iowa Dems likely to caucus Jan. 3, too

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Our national political correspondent Mark Z. Barabak reports in from the road this morning that Iowa’s Democrats will likely be joining Iowa Republicans in holding their caucuses on Jan. 3.

State Democratic leaders are to hold a conference call at 8 p.m. local time Sunday, during which state party chair Scott Brennan will recommend the caucus be moved from the current Jan. 14 date, according to Carrie Giddings, the party’s communications director.

That means Iowans can look forward to a flood of both Christmas and campaign ads running up to the holiday season -- the earliest start to presidential voting in American history.

This could also signal the start of a settling in of the primary and caucus calendar, which has been in flux since Florida and Michigan decided to flout national party rule and schedule votes ahead of the ordained Feb. 5 start date. The parties had given permission to Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada to vote earlier in an effort to broaden the demographics of early voting states.

But Michigan and Florida -- and Wyoming Republicans -- decided they wanted a piece of the national spotlight, too, and broke ranks. The unexpected result: Half of the Democratic candidates pulled their names from the Michigan ballot, and the national parties have told the state parties they will not seat delegates elected in an unsanctioned primary. Wyoming -- well, everybody seems to be ignoring the vote there.


Of course, the big question still looming is when will New Hampshire go to the polls? It is expected to set its primary date for no later than Jan. 8, though Secretary of State William M. Gardner has said he could push the voting ahead to December -- in about two months -- to preserve New Hampshire’s tradition and to build a little breathing space between the primaries and caucuses.

Ah, the holiday traditions -- gifts, over-eating, college football and now politics.

-- Scott Martelle