WASHINGTON — South Carolina has set its primary date for Jan. 21, likely pushing up the GOP presidential race to start shortly after New Year's.
The Palmetto State is the first of the four states holding early contests to select its date. Now eyes are on New Hampshire, whose decision on its primary date will determine when Iowa and Nevada will set their caucuses.
South Carolina chose its date after Florida on Friday set its primary for Jan. 31, forcing the early states to announce they would hold their contests earlier than planned.
New Hampshire's primary has traditionally been on a Tuesday, which means it could now fall on Jan. 3, 10 or 17. Since Nevada party rules say that state has to go four days after New Hampshire, setting New Hampshire's contest for Jan. 17 would put Nevada and South Carolina on the same date, as happened in 2008.
Iowa state law, meanwhile, says its caucuses must be held at least eight days before the next contest. Despite that law, Iowa, which usually votes first, went just five days before New Hampshire, which usually votes second, in 2008.
BachmanN aides quit: Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann is losing her pollster and senior adviser in a staff exodus that raises questions about the viability of her White House bid, the Associated Press reported Monday. Pollster Ed Goeas plans to leave the campaign after debates in New Hampshire and Nevada, and senior adviser Andy Parrish is returning to the Minnesota congresswoman's office where he served as chief of staff.