The Des Moines Register | April 12, 2022

“New Hampshire Secretary of State David Scanlan said Wednesday he would move to preempt Iowa on the presidential nominating calendar if Iowa Democrats go forward with a caucus-by-mail plan.

‘New Hampshire has been a strong supporter of the Iowa caucuses and will continue to do so as long as Iowa retains its traditional caucuses as their presidential nominating event,’ Scanlan, a Republican, wrote in an email to New Hampshire Republican Party Chair Chris Ager.


‘However, any change of the caucus format in Iowa that moves in the direction of a primary election, including the use of mail-in or absentee ballots, will trigger New Hampshire’s law protecting our first presidential primary position,’ Scanlon wrote.

Although Iowa has long held first-in-the-nation caucuses, New Hampshire has a state law requiring it to hold the nation’s first presidential primaries.

Scanlan’s comments played on Iowa Republicans’ fears that their Democratic counterparts could trigger a calendar fight between the two states if they advance their mail-in caucus proposal.


New Hampshire leaders have been adamant that they will hold the nation's first primary regardless, and Iowa has suggested it could hold an unsanctioned early event as well.


Last June, after intense criticism for its botched caucuses in 2020, the Iowa Democratic Party put forward a plan to reinvent its caucus process as more inclusive and transparent as national party officials began to rethink the nominating calendar order.


Rather than gathering in person at a specific time and place to caucus for president, Iowa Democrats said they would instead cast ‘presidential preference cards’ by mail in the weeks leading up to Caucus Day and announce the results at the caucus meetings.


Republicans, who are set to host the first-in-the-nation GOP caucuses in 2024, had begun warning this week that the Democrats' plan could jeopardize their own efforts to hold onto their place at the front of the presidential nominating calendar.


‘If we do mail-in ballot voting as a caucus in Iowa, New Hampshire views that as a primary and they will jump us, which will jeopardize our first-in-the-nation status,’ [Rep. Bobby] Kaufmann, who chairs the House Ways and Means Committee, said.”

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