The state of Florida’s special committee has officially voted to hold the state’s presidential primary on January 31, violating the RNC rules mandating that the state hold its contest no earlier than March 6.
The move is sure to trigger retaliations by the official early primary and caucus states of Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina, thus moving the primaries into early January, a month ahead of the original February dates that the national Republican Party had hoped to achieve.
This is something of a repeat of what happened in 2008, when Florida insisted on holding its primary in January and breaking the rules of both national parties. This led to Florida losing half its delegates on the Republican side — but the state still benefited from being a major political victory for John McCain, clinching his momentum for the nomination.
The nine-member state committee — picked for the process by the governor, state House Speaker, and state Senate President, appointing three each — voted 7-2 in favor of the date, with all six of the committee’s Republicans and one of the three Democrats voting in favor.
The chairman of the South Carolina Republican Party — which is supposed to hold the first-in-the-South primary under the official RNC rules — has already declared that he will move up his state’s contest to be ahead of Florida.