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One day after threatening to boycott the Nevada caucus if that state encroached on New Hampshire’s primary date, presidential longshot Jon Huntsman has announced that he will skip next week’s GOP debate in Nevada.According to the Manchester Union-Leader’s Drew Cline, Huntsman will boycott the debate as a protest over Nevada’s decision to move their caucus to the middle of January, a move that forced New Hampshire into the tricky position of trying to retain their first in the nation primary status without bumping the primary contest’s into 2011. Instead of attending the October 18 debate, Huntsman will hold a town hall meeting in New Hampshire.
“We’re fulfilling our obligations under this boycott to the maximum extent,” Huntsman told the Union-Leader. “We said that we would not campaign in Nevada because of what they’re doing in leapfrogging the caucuses forward, which I think is a disservice to our democracy.”
Huntsman is not alone in planning a boycott of the Nevada caucus. Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum have said they will boycott the caucus as well, while Michele Bachmann has threatened to do the same. Huntsman in particular has accused Romney of pressuring Nevada to move their date up since he has a wide lead there and would benefit from a front-loaded primary season.
“We call on the other campaigns to join us, especially Governor Romney’s campaign given their involvement in moving Nevada’s date forward,” the Huntsman campaign said in a statement yesterday.
The problem with Nevada really began with Florida, whose Republican leadership voted earlier this year to hold their state’s primary on January 31. That set off a domino effect, with South Carolina moving their primary to January 21, and Nevada then leapfrogging to January 14. Iowa plans to hold their caucus on January 3.
New Hampshire law states that it must hold a primary on a Tuesday at least seven days before the next nominating contest. With January 3 taken, and January 10 too close to Nevada’s date, New Hampshire Secretary of State Bill Gardner has said he may be forced to schedule New Hampshire’s primary in December.
Huntsman has trailed badly in the polls, typically posting just one per cent nationally. His poll numbers have been so low that he’s barely been admitted into some debates due to rules permitting only candidates at or above the 1% threshold to participate.
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