Who votes when? N.H. decision brings clarity to 2012 calendar


The announcement Wednesday of the date of New Hampshire’s presidential primary largely cements the election calendar for 2012, which will see fewer contests in the early stages than in the frontloaded 2008 race.

The first five Republican contests are certain, beginning in just 62 days with the Iowa caucuses on Jan. 3. New Hampshire will vote in the nation’s first primary on Jan. 10, as Secretary of State Bill Gardner announced Wednesday.

South Carolina Republicans hold their primary on Jan. 21, followed in 10 days by the Florida primary. Nevada Republicans hold the first-in-the-West caucuses on Feb. 4 -- three weeks later than they initially hoped.

In 2008, 24 states held caucuses or primaries on Feb. 5, what was called Super -- or even Tsunami -- Tuesday. Most of the states involved have since moved their contests back for 2012, in part because of the respective national party committees’ efforts to spread out the nominating contests.

Both parties adopted rules penalizing states that would vote before the first Tuesday in March, a move also meant to protect the traditional early voting states.

After Nevada, Colorado and Minnesota Republicans will hold nonbinding caucuses on Feb. 7; Missouri will also hold a primary then, but delegates will not be awarded based on the outcome.

The next binding contests in the GOP race will not come until Feb. 28, when Arizona and Michigan hold primaries.

This year’s “Super Tuesday” falls on March 6, when 10 states hold primaries or caucuses.

Jan. 3: Iowa caucuses
Jan. 10: New Hampshire primary
Jan. 21: South Carolina primary
Jan. 31: Florida primary

Feb. 4: Nevada caucuses
Feb. 7: Colorado, Minnesota caucuses (nonbinding); Missouri primary (nonbinding)
Feb 11: Maine caucuses end
Feb. 28: Arizona, Michigan primaries

March 3: Washington caucuses
March 6: Georgia, Massachusetts, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Vermont, Virginia primaries; Alaska, Idaho, North Dakota caucuses; Alaska district convention
March 10: Kansas caucuses
March 13: Alabama, Mississippi primaries
March 17: Missouri caucuses*
March 20: Illinois primary
March 24: Louisiana primary

April 3: Maryland, Washington, D.C., Wisconsin primaries
April 24: Connecticut, Delaware, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island primaries

May 8: Indiana, North Carolina*, West Virginia primaries
May 15: Nebraska, Oregon primaries
May 22: Arkansas, Kentucky primaries
May 29: Texas primary

June 5: California, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico, South Dakota primaries
June 12: Ohio primary
June 26: Utah primary

Aug. 27: Republican National Convention begins

*subject to change