ABC News’ David Chalian Reports: The 2008 presidential nomination calendar, which has been hanging in suspension for some time, is now beginning to take shape. The Republican Party of Iowa voted Tuesday to hold its first-in-the nation caucuses Jan. 3, 2008 and Democrats in South Carolina voted to move its primary to Saturday, Jan. 26.
"With under 80 days to go, this is a huge help to our counties and county chairs to get the ball rolling and start organizing," Iowa GOP Executive Director Chuck Launder said.
Iowa Democrats are uncertain if they will join their Republican counterparts on January 3 or hold their caucuses on a separate date.
"The Iowa Democratic Party is planning for a January caucus that is run professionally and with integrity. We will decide our caucus date based ultimately on what is best for the people of Iowa and the Democratic Party," said the party’s communications director Carrie Giddins.
Democrats in South Carolina were originally scheduled to vote on Tuesday January 29, 2008. But South Carolina was looking to be first-in-the-south and not eager to share the date with Florida — which, violated DNC and RNC rules by moving its primary ahead of February 5, 2008. The DNC’s rules only allow for Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, and South Carolina to hold nominating contests before the first Tuesday in February.
A couple of months ago, the South Carolina Republicans moved their primary date to Saturday January 19, 2008. The taxpayers of the Palmetto State will now fund two separate primaries seven days apart.
"We’re hoping to encourage the South Carolina Republican Party to join us on January 26," said South Carolina Democratic Party executive director Joe Werner.
The move was made with tacit approval from the Democratic National Committee, though it must be formally approved by the DNC’s Rules & Bylaws Committee