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LAS VEGAS (AP) — Republicans in the four early presidential nominating states on Tuesday jointly opposed a Democratic push in Nevada to make the Western state the first to hold a primary.

GOP chairs Jeff Kaufmann of Iowa, Stephen Stepanek of New Hampshire, Michael McDonald of Nevada and Drew McKissick of South Carolina said in a statement they want to preserve the historic schedule, which has led off with Iowa's caucus followed by New Hampshire's primary.

“As the GOP leaders of the four carve-out states, we want to make clear that we stand together in protecting the presidential nominating schedule as it has existed for many years," the Republicans said in the statement. “Our alliance is strong and we will continue to work together to preserve this historic process.”

The move comes as a bill that would push Nevada up from from the third-in-line caucus state to the first-in-the-nation primary sits on Democratic Gov. Steve Sisolak’s desk.

Nevada Democrats made the move with a behind-the-scenes lobbying campaign from former U.S. Sen. Harry Reid after the 2020 nominating process left them discontent with Iowa's problem-plagued caucus and the two early states being overwhelmingly white. Nevada is much more racially diverse.

Sisolak has not said if he will sign the bill but is supportive of the effort. The national political parties would need to agree to changes in the calendar or state parties could risk losing their delegates at presidential nominating conventions.

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

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