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States are now clamoring to move the Republican primary up early, leaving the traditional first states left in the dust. Florida Republican presidential primary is likely going to be held five weeks earlier than normal, moving the primary to January 31, 2012 instead of early March.
The Florida GOP has selected the early date by a vote of 7 to 2, according to GOP insiders. This move is in violation of Republican National Committee guidelines. It also upsets the traditional standards that allows the states of Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina to be the first primary states in every presidential election.
Although Florida may be sanctioned by the RNC, Florida’s Republican officials seem to be looking past any punishment. They believe by moving up their primary, they will be the fifth and deciding primary of the season. Early primary states are upset by Florida and other states leapfrogging moves.
Arizona had previously announced that they were moving their primary up to the same day as South Carolina’s primary. South Carolina has asked that the Republican National Convention be moved out of Florida where it is scheduled. New Hampshire is also unhappy since they have a state law mandating that the state have the first primary in the nation.
Officials in New Hampshire, Iowa, South Carolina and Nevada have already said that they will be moving their contests. When Chuck Todd played this out on MSNBC last week, he anticipated that the Iowa caucuses, the first contest of the season , would be moved to Jan. 5. But by the time this all shakes out, it could end up being worse.
As CNN’s Peter Hamby tweets this morning: “NH Sec of State does not rule out holding New Hampshire primary this year. As in, 2011.” This means those potential candidates that are still lingering in the dust better start to announce their candidacy if they are interested. Yes, I am talking to you Sarah Palin, Chris Christie or even Mr. Huckabee.