Letter from Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA) read by Jerry Crawford at the Oct. 1, 2005 meeting:

Dear Calendar Commission Member:

I deeply appreciate your past willingness to hear my views as you conduct your important work.

Please be sure today to consider the damage that would result from adopting a calendar that begins differently than that of the Republicans.  It is clear that the Republican process will begin in Iowa and New Hampshire.  I believe that if we don't compete in those same states on those same dates, our candidates will lose enormous national exposure by diverting and confusing press attention. Worse, we could be ceding the electoral votes to Republicans in those two key swing states if we demote them in importance.  Surely we all want to make the road to the White House easier for our candidates -- not more difficult!

Second, please be careful of unintended negative consequences.  We all understand the damage from a calendar that is too compressed.  Moving additional states into the pre-window calendar will increase that compression.  Worse, additional states placed before the window will mean that candidates have to have much greater sums of money to launch a campaign.  Surely we do not want to move in that direction.

I wish you well in finding a winning path for our candidates in 2008.


Tom Harkin
United States Senate