updated 8/10/2007 4:40:48 PM ET 2007-08-10T20:40:48

Iowa's Democratic governor said Friday the state's presidential caucuses should be held in January 2008, rejecting suggestions that the rush to move up primaries should push the contests into December.

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"In this state, we're going to still have Christmas," Gov. Chet Culver said at a news conference. "We're very firm in the fact that we're going to have the caucuses in January. To go into 2007 makes no sense at all."

Culver said he has had productive discussions with officials in New Hampshire and from the Democratic National Committee.

"Iowa will once again lead off the presidential selection process in 2008," said Culver. "Obviously the situation is fluid."

He said that the process of selecting delegates to a national nominating convention in 2008 should begin next year.

"We have no interest in going in December, for a lot of reasons," Culver said. "This is the 2008 delegate selection process and those delegates should be selected in 2008."

Waiting on New Hampshire
Culver spoke at a news conference with Iowa Democratic Party Chairman Scott Brennan and Secretary of State Michael Mauro.

Iowa's Republican and Democratic caucuses are the work of the two major parties and are not traditional state-sanctioned elections.

The issue of moving the caucuses arose Thursday when South Carolina Republicans announced they would move up the GOP primary to Jan. 19, three days ahead of the scheduled date for New Hampshire's leadoff primary.

New Hampshire officials have not announced what their next step will be, but it's expected they will move that primary to earlier January.

Iowa's caucuses are now scheduled for Jan. 14. Both Republican and Democratic leaders have said they will schedule those caucuses eight days before the New Hampshire primary, whatever day is selected for that event.

Both Republicans and Democrats must certify to their national parties by this fall the process that they will use to select delegates to next summer's nominating convention as well as a date that those contests will be held.

Each party's governing bodies are scheduled to meet Sept. 8 and a decision on a new caucus date is likely at that point.

Iowa Republicans and Democrats have traditionally worked together to hold caucuses on the same day.

Copyright 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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