Republicans in Florida want to go first in the 2012 presidential nominating contests, a decision that threatens to wreak havoc on the primary calendar and cause a major rift between the national party and Republican leaders in the nation’s largest swing state. Florida’s primary is currently scheduled for January 31, Politico reports, in violation of Republican and Democratic National Committee regulations that say only Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada can hold primary contests before March.
Backed by Florida’s newly-elected Senator Marco Rubio, a rising star in the national Republican party, state GOP leaders say they have no intention of changing the primary date. They have indicated, however, that they would be OK with holding the fifth primary contest, after South Carolina but on their own date.
The standoff has made a stir within the national Republican party, which wants to avoid the embarrassment of having to penalise the home-state delegation at the national convention in Tampa next year. So far, though, the RNC says it is sticking to the rules.
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