New Hampshire sets January 8 primary date

New Hampshire will hold its presidential primary on January 8, New Hampshire Secretary of State William Gardner announced Wednesday.

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With other states moving up in the increasingly front-loaded primary schedule, some had speculated that New Hampshire, which is proud of its role as host of the country’s first primary, would move its primary into December. While officials decided against such a move, the January 8 date is the earliest in history.

“I’m very happy to hear that we have a date for our primary,” said New Hampshire Democratic Party Chairman Ray Buckley. “Now we can all enjoy our holiday and the campaigns can make their final preparations.”

Campaigns applauded the decision.

“I am pleased that New Hampshire will retain its rightful place as the first-in-the-nation primary,” said former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards (D).

“I applaud Bill Gardner’s work to protect New Hampshire's significance in our nominating process,” he added. “The New Hampshire primary is critical because voters in New Hampshire take their responsibility seriously: they listen to the candidates, look them in the eye, ask them tough questions and size them up. In New Hampshire, ideas truly matter more than money and that is precisely why this is anyone’s race.”

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney (R) said it is “good news that New Hampshire’s traditional role in the process has been maintained.”

The campaign of Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainAmerica's newest comedy troupe: House GOP Michelle Malkin knocks Cokie Roberts shortly after her death: 'One of the first guilty culprits of fake news' Arizona Democratic Party will hold vote to censure Sinema MORE (R-Ariz.) used the announcement to rally supporters.

“We have less than 7 weeks to make sure that we are able to reach every voter in New Hampshire with John McCain's message of courageous service, experienced leadership, and bold solutions,” campaign manager Rick Davis said in an e-mail. He urged supporters to donate to McCain, who is banking on a win in New Hampshire.