Democrats' proposed primary slate in accord with Republican planning
That's the reaction of Stephen Duprey, longtime member of the Republican National Committee, to news that Democrats plan to set New Hampshire's first-in-the-nation primary on Feb. 9, 2016.
Duprey agreed it looks good for New Hampshire. "The good news is the parties generally tend to work together on this, and we are pleased that they are following the rules that we adopted for our party," he said.
"For the first time since the advent of the modern primary, the rules of the Republican Party specifically protect the first four early states," he said.
Here's why Duprey thinks the New Hampshire primary is safer than ever: New RNC rules say any state that jumps the calendar will forfeit nearly all of its delegates to the national convention.
The RNC has not actually announced dates for the first four contests "because we leave it up to the states to do so," Duprey said.
However, he said, the expectation is that the Iowa caucuses will be on Feb. 1, New Hampshire's primary on Feb. 9, followed by the South Carolina primary on Feb. 20 and Nevada caucuses on Feb. 27.
Duprey said New Hampshire political leaders are seeing the results of decades of effort to bring national party committee members here to witness firsthand how well the primary works.
Gardner said his obligation is to uphold state law, which calls for New Hampshire to hold its primary at least a week ahead of any other state contest. "If it ends up with these dates, it would honor the primary tradition," he said.
"Ever vigilant," replied Duprey. "Trust but verify, as Ronald Reagan said."
Still, he said, "it is more settled than it has been since 1956."
"Pigs get fed; hogs get slaughtered," he said.
"We have the fun of having the primary," he said. "That doesn't mean we should also get four or five debates when there are important states that get nothing.