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Wyoming Republicans, for now, have earliest primary for US presidential election

Republicans in the central state of Wyoming have jumped to the head of the pack in the U.S. presidential nominating process, moving their delegate-selection conventions to Jan. 5, ahead of all the other states.
While the move puts Wyoming first in the accelerated primary process ahead of the November 2008 election, it is not expected to stay there as states continue to jockey for position. Candidates who win early states have more momentum, giving those early states more influence nationwide.
"We're first in the nation," said Tom Sansonetti, the state party's 2008 county convention coordinator. "At least for the next couple, three weeks until New Hampshire and Iowa move, which I expect they will."
The primary election calendar was designed to preserve the traditional role that Iowa and New Hampshire have played in selecting the nominee, while adding two states with more racial and geographic diversity, South Carolina and Nevada, to influential early slots.
The ever-changing contest schedule _ and the earlier start _ has created an enormous level of discomfort for national parties trying to impose discipline on the states, as well as presidential campaigns trying to figure out strategies when voting could begin in just five months.
Even as they moved up their county conventions, Wyoming's Republicans said they wanted a solution to the national shuffle.
"Ultimately the goal here is to look beyond 2008 and fix the system, because the system is broken," Sansonetti said. "All this jumping around is because the states feel disenfranchised by letting Iowa and New Hampshire call the shots."
On Tuesday, Florida Democrats were warned by their national party that they would lose their 210 delegates to the nominating convention next summer unless they delays their newly planned Jan. 29 by at least a week.
The Republican National Committee insists it will penalize states that schedule nominating contests before Feb. 5 by withholding half of their delegates to its party convention next summer.
"The rules are very clear. Any state that holds its primary outside the window will be penalized delegates," said Republican National Committee spokesman Paul Lindsay, adding delegates would be allocated to states at the end of the year.
Sansonetti said Wyoming stood to lose half its delegates.
More moves by other states are expected in the coming weeks. South Carolina Republicans moved their primary to Jan. 19, forcing Iowa and New Hampshire to reconsider their dates to maintain their early status. Iowa caucuses had been scheduled for Jan. 14 and New Hampshire's primary was tentatively set for Jan. 22. Nevada is scheduled to vote on Jan. 19.

Updated : 2021-08-03 20:06 GMT+08:00