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More 2012: Christmas in Des Moines?

“Iowa will remain the first presidential caucus state in the nation despite the Republican National Committee’s rejection Thursday of a plan to place greater penalties against states that try to jump ahead, several party leaders in Iowa said,” the Des Moines Register writes. “The Iowa caucuses are scheduled for Feb. 6. ‘The order isn’t going to change even if the date has to,’ said Matt Strawn, chairman of the Republican Party of Iowa.

“The Republican National Committee’s Rules Committee voted Thursday to delay action on tougher penalties against states that try to jump head. The measure would have removed VIP passes and desirable hotel accommodations from states like Arizona, Florida and Michigan that have threatened to move their presidential nominating votes before Feb. 6. Current language already strips states in violation of the rules of half of their delegates to the party’s national convention, which formally selects its presidential nominee.”

“Anxieties about the fate of the presidential nominating process broke out into the open Thursday during a meeting of the Republican National Committee, but party officials declined to take formal action against states that might disrupt the primary calendar in 2012,” CNN’s Hamby writes. “The issue is hardly dead, however, and figures to be high on the agenda when the RNC meets again this winter, just before the Republican primary voters begin casting ballots in the presidential race.”