LAS VEGAS (AP) — Nevada Republicans are debating whether to bow to national pressure and delay the state's presidential nomination contest.
More than 200 of the party's top volunteers and leaders are scheduled to meet Saturday in Las Vegas to decide when Nevada's caucuses should be held.
New Hampshire Secretary of State Bill Gardner has threatened to hold that state's primary in early December to avoid wedging it between the Jan. 3 Iowa caucuses and Nevada's Jan. 14 date. Former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman, businessman Herman Cain and several other Republican presidential candidates have pledged their support to New Hampshire and vowed to boycott Nevada's contest if it isn't pushed back, prompting the Republican National Committee to suggest that Nevada move to Feb. 4.
Nevada GOP leaders have signaled that they support the change, but it's unclear whether rank-and-file members will agree. The Nevada Republican Party's central committee is comprised of a diverse swath of supporters from across the expansive Western state, making for an unpredictable voting body that has refused to heed the GOP's mainstream leadership time and again.
Nevada Republican Executive Director David Gallagher told The Associated Press on Friday that GOP leaders will commit to whatever decision the rank-and-file makes, even if they choose to keep the Jan. 14 date. They could also vote to return Nevada's contest to Feb. 18.
Nevada, Iowa and South Carolina moved their contests from February to January earlier this month after Florida announced it would violate national Republican rules and hold its primary on Jan. 31. Only Nevada was subject to boycott threats.
Nevada Republicans initially laughed off the attacks, but they reconsidered after RNC Chairman Reince Priebus began calling for a compromise this week.
If Nevada moves to Feb. 4, it would no longer be third in the presidential nomination calendar lineup and could be dwarfed by Florida's vote. But the move would allow the state to keep all of its delegates when national Republicans convene in Tampa next year to name their presidential nominee.