Image Credit: Shutterstock

Image Credit: Shutterstock

Happy New Year. We are one month away from finally beginning to actually having “votes” cast in our long process to select the Republican presidential nominee. Below is a rundown of the primary calendar — the 54 delegate selection contests, the only polls that count.

In addition to the rundown, I am going go way out on a tiny limb and preview the early races. I do so with trepidation because a month, let alone the more than seven weeks until the Nevada caucuses, is an eternity in presidential elections.

Iowa: The way I see it, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) is poised to win the Iowa caucuses. Not that I think you can put much stock in the polling, but the RCP Average for Iowa Republican Presidential Caucuses has Cruz ahead by 2.8 points.

Cruz is also better organized in the state than is Trump. Cruz has more than 6,000 volunteers helping to knock on doors in Iowa. Trump may be drawing the largest crowds, but his campaign doesn’t seem to have the crucial ground game to get his supporters to the caucuses. Two weeks ago the New York Times reported that the Trump campaign predicted it would recruit a leader for each of Iowa’s 1,681 Republican precincts by Thanksgiving. Despite heavily promoting a major training session for precinct leaders, heavily promoted in emails and conference calls, only about 80 people showed up and about another 50 participated online.

Finally, Trump says he will start spending $2million a week on advertising. The Keep the Promise Super PACs supporting Cruz just announced a $1 million television, digital and radio advertising buy in the early voting states, with $700,000 for Iowa television. My money is on Cruz in Iowa.

New Hampshire: One would think that with Trump up 13.8 points in the RCP Average for the New Hampshire Republican Presidential Primary it would be a simple call. To me it looks to be much closer. New Hampshire isn’t in Trump’s strong geographical area, which we’ve reported stretches from the Gulf Coast, up the spine of the Appalachian Mountains, to upstate New York. Like in Iowa, the Trump Campaign is able to draw crowds but seems to have fallen short with organizing. Last week, the Trump campaign released list of more than 200 New Hampshire town chairs some of whom deny they support Trump. I’m not sure if Trump, Chritie, Kasich, or Rubio takes New Hampshire.

South Carolina: This is looking to be another battle between Trump and Cruz. The RCP average for the South Carolina Republican Presidential Primary has Trump up by 14.4 points. I think Conservative/Evangelical Cruz Campaign can overcome Trump’s crowd goers. A lot will depend on what happens in Iowa and New Hampshire.

I can’t even begin to speculate about Nevada. So on to the primary calendar rundown.

February 1, 2016
Iowa Caucuses
Closed Caucus but voters may change party registration at polls.
Number of Delegates: 30

February 9, 2016
New Hampshire
Open Primary
Number of Delegates: 23

February 20, 2016
South Carolina
Open Primary
Number of Delegates: 50

February 23, 2016
Nevada
Closed Caucuses
Number of Delegates: 30

March 1, 2016
Alabama
Open Primary
Number of Delegates: 50

Alaska
Closed Caucuses
Number of Delegates: 28

Arkansas
Open Primary
Number of Delegates: 40

Colorado
Closed Caucuses
Number of Delegates: 37

Georgia
Open Primary
Number of Delegates: 76

Massachusetts
Closed Primary
Number of Delegates: 42

Minnesota
Open Caucuses
Number of Delegates: 38

Oklahoma
Closed Primary
Number of Delegates: 43

Tennessee
Open Primary
Number of Delegates: 58

Texas
Open Primary
Number of Delegates: 155

Vermont
Open Primary
Number of Delegates: 16

Virginia
Open Primary
Number of Delegates: 49

Wyoming
Closed Caucuses
Number of Delegates: 29

March 5, 2016
Kansas
Closed Caucuses
Number of Delegates: 40

Kentucky
Closed Caucuses
Number of Delegates: 46

Louisiana
Closed Primary
Number of Delegates: 46

Maine
Closed Caucuses
Number of Delegates: 23

March 6, 2016
Puerto Rico
Open Primary
Number of Delegates: 23

March 8, 2016
Hawaii
Open Caucuses
Number of Delegates: 19

Idaho
Closed Primary
Number of Delegates: 32

Michigan
Open Primary
Number of Delegates: 59

Mississippi
Open Primary
Number of Delegates: 40

March 12, 2016
District of Columbia
Closed Convention
Number of Delegates: 19

Guam
Closed Convention
Number of Delegates: 9

March 15, 2016
Florida
Closed Primary
Number of Delegates: 99

Illinois
Open Primary
Number of Delegates: 69

Missouri
Open Primary
Number of Delegates: 52

North Carolina
Closed Primary
Number of Delegates: 72

Ohio
Closed Primary
Number of Delegates: 66

Northern Mariana Islands
Closed Caucuses
Number of Delegates: 9

March 19, 2016
U.S. Virgin Islands
Open Caucuses
Number of Delegates: 9

March 22, 2016
Arizona
Closed Primary
Number of Delegates: 58

Utah
Closed Caucuses
Number of Delegates: 40

April 5, 2016
Wisconsin
Open Primary
Number of Delegates: 42

April 19, 2016
New York
Closed Primary
Number of Delegates: 95

April 26, 2016
Connecticut
Closed Primary
Number of Delegates: 28

Delaware
Closed Primary
Number of Delegates: 16

Maryland
Closed Primary
Number of Delegates: 38

Pennsylvania
Closed Primary
Number of Delegates: 71

Rhode Island
Closed Primary
Number of Delegates: 19

May 3, 2016
Indiana
Open Primary
Number of Delegates: 57

May 10, 2016
Nebraska
Closed Primary
Number of Delegates: 36

West Virginia
Closed Primary
Number of Delegates: 34

May 17, 2016
Oregon
Closed Primary
Number of Delegates: 28

May 24, 2016
Washington
Closed Primary
Number of Delegates: 44

June 7, 2016
California
Closed Primary
Number of Delegates: 172

Montana
Open Primary
Number of Delegates: 27

New Jersey
Closed Primary
Number of Delegates: 51

New Mexico
Closed Primary
Number of Delegates: 24

South Dakota
Closed Primary
Number of Delegates: 29