Tim Alberta reports for National Review Online on efforts to keep Iowa and New Hampshire at the top of the presidential campaign pecking order.

As Republican officials in Iowa and New Hampshire prepare to host the first two elections of this year’s presidential campaign, they’re working feverishly behind the scenes to ensure it’s not their final turn at the front of the line.

Republican National Committee members from around the country have long plotted to depose the two small, demographically homogenous states that traditionally sit atop the nominating calendar. Those efforts seemed to receive a boost in September when RNC chairman Reince Priebus said that the first four states to vote — Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Nevada — won’t be considered “sacred cows” after 2016, warning, “I don’t think anyone should get too comfortable.”

It’s a foregone conclusion inside the RNC that Nevada will lose the No. 4 spot barring miraculous turnout in its February 23 caucuses. The Silver State, which has been plagued by poor showings in recent cycles — the state party was embarrassed when fewer than 33,000 people showed up to caucus in 2012 — will probably be replaced by either Arizona or Colorado, which GOP leaders say have stable party infrastructures to go with their similarly diverse populations.

The first three states, meanwhile, are on knife’s edge. Party officials overwhelmingly believe that Priebus, if he had unilateral power, would nix Iowa — owing to its Evangelical-heavy electorate and byzantine caucus system — in favor of leading the calendar with New Hampshire and South Carolina. But Republicans in those three states long ago banded together, and continue to believe that a united front is the best shield against attempts on their favored positions.