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New Hampshire Chooses Jan. 10 As Primary Date

The schedule for the first four Republican presidential caucuses and primaries appeared officially set Wednesday with New Hampshire announcing that it would hold its first-in-the-nation primary on Jan. 10.

That would come exactly seven days after the Iowa caucuses, which were moved to Jan. 3, the first Tuesday of the new year, and which will kick off the process by which Republicans will choose their party's nominee to contest President Obama for the White House.

The South Carolina GOP primary is now scheduled to occur Saturday, Jan. 21 while the Nevada caucuses are scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 18.

New Hampshire's decision finally ended fears that a presidential preference contest could take place in December 2011.

As happened in 2008, the first four states were forced to advance their schedules after Florida moved its primary to an earlier date than national party rules allowed.

Florida moved its primary in Jan. 31 despite party rules requiring the state to hold its contest no earlier than March. Florida officials said their state's size, diversity, battleground status and electoral votes entitled it to have an earlier and perhaps more decisive role in the nominee-selection process.

For violating the party rules, Florida stands to lose some of its delegates to the national convention, though in 2008 the party restored Florida's delegates for a similar violation.

(*The post was revised to correct the scheduled dates for the Nevada Republican caucuses and the South Carolina GOP primary.

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Frank James joined NPR News in April 2009 to launch the blog, "The Two-Way," with co-blogger Mark Memmott.