Florida GOP Presidential Primary Expected To Move Ahead To January
The state commission is expected to meet on Friday, Florida House Speaker Dean Cannon told CNN. The move appears to be partially spurred by reports of other states trying to move their primary up ahead of Florida.
According to CBS News:
The commission had been looking at a February 21 date, but Florida officials moved their target date forward this week after reports over the weekend that Missouri, Colorado and Georgia were looking to get a headstart on Florida.
The staff of the Florida governor, Senate president and House speaker, all Republicans, who each appointed 3 of the 9 members on the panel, have been discussing the move and are pushing for the January 31 timetable, the earliest possible date that the commission could pick for the primary, aides said.
However, Florida's move could have serious implications for the state's GOP delegation, which could see its size significantly reduced at the Republican nomination convention next year should the state go with the January 31 date.
Florida's move would directly violate RNC rules that forbid any state other than the first four "carve-out" states -- Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina -- from holding a primary before March 6.
States that ignore the RNC rules are subject to losing half of their delegates -- party representatives who ultimately choose the nominee -- to the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Florida, next August.
If Florida moved their primary date up, however, it is more than likely that Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada would follow suit.
More from CNN:
Iowa has vowed to go before any other state in the process, meaning that the caucuses could be held in the early days of January, ensuring that the Republican candidates and their campaigns would likely be spending part of the holiday season in the hotel rooms of Des Moines.
New Hampshire, whose Secretary of State Bill Gardner holds the power to set the date of the first-in-the-nation primary, will follow suit.
Nevada and South Carolina are also likely to move in order to stay ahead of Florida.
Moving up the GOP presidential primary could have another major impact for candidates who have not declared. According to The Wall Street Journal: "A front-loaded primary schedule would make it harder for late entries—a possible bid by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie or former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, for example—because it would reduce the time they have to campaign and raise money."
Christie and Palin are already facing a deadline to get on the ballot in Florida, where the last day to file is October 31.