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IOWA AIMS TO RETAIN STATUS AS FIRST PRESIDENTIAL TEST

Iowa Republican Party leaders voted Saturday to move their caucuses up a week to Jan. 31 in an effort to retain their status as the nation's first major presidential test.

Rob Tully, chairman of the state's Democratic Party, said his party also likely will move its caucuses to Jan. 31 if New Hampshire follows through with plans to move up its primary.

The Iowa Republican Party's central committee voted to move the caucuses from their scheduled date of Feb. 7 in anticipation that New Hampshire will move its primary to Feb. 8, spokeswoman Ann Dougherty said.

Iowa and New Hampshire traditionally serve as the first two tests in a presidential campaign.

New Hampshire is considering changing its date from mid-February because South Carolina has moved its contest to Feb. 19. South Carolina originally was scheduled to be among a number of states holding primaries on March 7.

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