South Carolina GOP to Force Iowa Caucuses into 2007

The presidential nominating calendar is about to undergo a seismic shift, FOX News has learned.

On Thursday morning, South Carolina Republican Party Chairman Katon Dawson will hold a news conference in Concord, N.H., in which he will announce the date of the South Carolina Republican Primary will be held Jan. 19.

Dawson is to present a letter to New Hampshire Secretary of State Bill Gardner expressing his full support and solidarity on behalf of the South Carolina Republican Party for the the state of New Hampshire and its first in the nation primary.

But his state's new primary date will activate the New Hampshire primary protection law requiring that New Hampshire hold its primary seven or more days before any similar elections. Currently, the New Hampshire primary has been tentatively scheduled for Jan. 22.

When New Hampshire has to move at least seven days before the 19th, the Iowa law requiring its caucuses be held eight days before the any other event will also kick in. Iowa's date was tentatively set for Jan. 14.

Iowa's caucus organizers will be faced with a difficult choice of either moving their caucuses to before or right around Christmas or New Year's Day. Otherwise, the Iowa caucuses would have to go after New Hampshire violating Iowa law.

By announcing this two days before the Iowa GOP straw poll, Dawson is taking a deliberate shot at Iowa.

New Hampshire Secretary of State Bill Gardner will not announce New Hampshire's primary schedule on Thursday nor will he even say when he might announce that date.

He has said he will announce sometime in the late fall but he could wait until December specifically to prevent other states, including Iowa, from moving their dates in any way that would diminish New Hampshire's role in the nominating hierarchy.