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Fla. Primary Set For January 31

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MIAMI (CBSMiami.com) – The state of Florida has moved its 2012 presidential primary to January 31.

The date was made official late Friday morning.

Now, it’s expected that a domino effect of states rushing to get in front of Florida on the primary calendar will take place.

But, Florida’s move will run the risk of losing half of their delegates at the 2012 Republican National Committee.

Current RNC rules forbid states other than Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina from holding a primary before March 6.

According to the rules, states that violate that date can lose half of their delegates to the Republican National Convention.

The Florida Legislature pulled a similar stunt in 2008 in the quest to be fifth, which ended up with Democrats nearly disallowing Florida nominators due to the violation of rules.

Part of the reason the primaries aren’t held earlier is to allow campaigning over the holiday to stop. But, as each state vies to be the fifth state to hold the primary, candidates will be spending a lot more time away from home, even during the holidays.

Now that Florida’s primary is set, there will be a stampede between Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, and South Carolina to get to the front of the line.

Iowa was not at all happy with Florida’s decision.

“The arrogance shown by Florida’s elected leadership is disappointing, but not surprising,” Iowa GOP chairman Matt Strawn told Politico.com. “Equally troubling is to see this petulant behavior rewarded with our national convention.”

Strawn continued, “The consequences of Florida’s intransigence must be swift and severe, including the refusal by the RNC to credential or seat any member of Florida’s presidential primary date commission at the 2012 RNC convention in Tampa.”

South Carolina GOP chairman Chad Connelly also slammed Florida’s decision in a statement published by Politico.

“Today’s decision by Florida is hugely disappointing and could have been avoided. Rogue states have once again dictated the Presidential nominating calendar. I call on my fellow RNC members and all Republicans to strongly condemn Florida’s decision to hold their primary on January 31,” Connelly said.

South Carolina has said that it will consider moving its primary to a date before Florida, possibly on January 28. That could push the Iowa GOP caucuses to January 9; the New Hampshire primaries on January 17; and the Nevada caucuses on January 21.
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