The early primary calendar just got a little bit crazier, with Florida announcing that they are likely to hold their primary on January 31st, over a full month earlier than the official first date available for the non-traditional early states.
As CNN reports, Florida will finalize their selection at a meeting on Friday, September 30th in order to meet the October 1st deadline for the Republican National Committee. But the fact that it is already mentioning a date — in order to provide other early states to move up their events as well — shows that the meeting is mostly formality.
Moving the primary before the March 6th starting date for non-early endorsing states could mean a punishment from the RNC, such as loss of delegates. But since the state is actually hosting the 2012 convention, it no doubt believes that whatever penalty it may face will not be terribly harsh. Florida was already in violation of the rules with their previously proposed date of February 21st and should not receive a greater penalty for going even further ahead, so the January date ensures it stays in front of other states considering moving forward as well.
One state Florida is leery of? Missouri. The state is also planning to jump ship on the traditional calendar, stating they are likely to hold their primary on February 7th.
Iowa has already vowed that it will hold its caucus before any other state has any sort of election, and New Hampshire is clinging to its “first in the country primary” status. With Nevada and South Carolina also scheduled to go ahead of any other states, the Florida move is likely to start the nomination process as soon as early January in order to keep the early states in their proper order.
At this rate, with the right group of wins, the nominee could be declared as early as the end of February. So much for Super Tuesday.
Photo credit: Jessica Rinaldi