From NBC/NJ's Mike Memoli and NBC's Chuck Todd
The New Hampshire filing period has just been announced and it is Oct. 15 to Nov. 2nd. This doesn't mean we know what the primary date will be; it simply means that Nov. 2nd is the last day Al Gore or Newt Gingrich can file.
*** UPDATE *** It will likely be another month until we know the date of the New Hampshire Primary.
Secretary of State Bill Gardner announced this afternoon that the filing period for the primary will begin Monday, October 15, and end Friday, November 2. That means Gore and Gingrich, if they want to participate in the first-in-the-nation primary, must make up their mind in the next month.
NH law calls for the filing period to be the first Monday through the third Friday of the November. That's when it was in 2003, for the primary held January 27, 2004. Gardner said in a phone interview this afternoon that moving the filing period up three weeks does not necessarily indicate that the primary would move likewise. "Nothing will happen now at least until the filing period begins," Gardner said of his timeline for an announcement.
Gardner did confirm that it means there is a chance the primary "could be in December." "We would be ready," Gardner said. "This allows us to be prepared by moving [the filing period] ahead."
Candidates who want to participate in the primary can file beginning at 8 am on the 15th. All you need is $1,000. Filing closes before 5 pm on November 2nd. Gardner said he would immediately then begin printing absentee ballots.