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Secretary of state: Early primary possible

CONCORD — New Hampshire’s secretary of state on Wednesday called Dec. 6 and 13 “realistic options” for the state’s presidential primary unless Nevada backs up its caucus to Jan. 17.

The Nevada caucuses are set for Jan. 14, and Iowa has tentatively picked Jan. 3 for its lead-off caucuses. Given a New Hampshire state law requiring the primary to be held at least seven days before any similar contest, New Hampshire could vote no later than Jan. 7, but William Gardner said he is unwilling to stick his state between Iowa and Nevada if those contests remain so close together.

“We cannot allow the political process to squeeze us into a date that wedges us by just a few days between two major caucus states,” he said in a statement. “Our primary will have little meaning if states crowd into holding their events just hours after our polls have closed.”

Unlike other states in which political parties run the primaries and caucuses, New Hampshire has taxpayers pay for the primary, and Mr. Gardner has the sole authority to set the date. During the last presidential campaign, he waited until Nov. 21 to set the Jan. 8 date, the earliest date ever.

On Wednesday, he said logistics are in place to have the primary either Dec. 6 or Dec. 13 if necessary.

“Candidates have been campaigning here and elsewhere for months, and it is about time we begin the next stage of the presidential nominating process,” he said.

 

CAMPAIGN

Romney: Christie on all veep shortlists

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney says New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie would be on anybody’s short list for a vice-presidential running mate. Mr. Romney calls Mr. Christie an “extraordinary person” and “one of the leading figures in the Republican Party.”

The two appeared together on NBC’s “Today” show and pointedly didn’t reject running-mate rumors the day after Mr. Christie handed Mr. Romney his endorsement. Asked if Mr. Christie would make a good match on a ticket with him, Mr. Romney said the two are great friends who agree on a host of issues.

Mr. Christie, who had considered running for president himself, says he hasn’t been promised a spot on the ticket, or anything else, in return for his endorsement.

CAMPAIGN

Cain noticeably absent in early-voting states

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