*** Calendar chaos? The GOP presidential field is mostly set, the future debates (including our NBC-Politico one on Sept. 7) are scheduled, and the full-fledged campaigning has already begun. The one thing we’re missing: an actual primary calendar. According to Republicans monitoring this subject, there are two different timeline scenarios. The first is the RNC-sanctioned February start date: Iowa goes Feb. 6, New Hampshire Feb. 14, Nevada, Feb. 18, South Carolina Feb. 28, and Super Tuesday is March 6. The second is the more chaotic January (or even December) start date: States like Arizona and Florida — risking losing half their delegates and other penalties — set their primaries early, pushing Iowa, New Hampshire, and other states into January or earlier. Which scenario is more likely? Although this remains a fluid situation, one plugged-in Republican eyeing the calendar process for one of the campaigns says there’s a “99%” chance it begins in early January instead of February. So start making your New Year’s Eve plans in Des Moines now. Or at least buy refundable air tickets.
*** So when will we know? Per NBC’s John Bailey, Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer (R) must announce the date of her state’s primary at least 150 days in advance. So if she wants to set it on Jan. 31, which seems to be the case, the announcement has to come on or before Sept. 2. Meanwhile, Florida’s committee to select a primary date has until Oct. 1 to determine a date. (Oct. 1 is the RNC’s deadline for a state changing its primary/caucus date.)