SCGOP not happy with Florida's decision to hold Jan. 31 primary

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WIS) - Florida will hold its presidential primary on Jan. 31, a decision that is expected to prompt other states to move up their primary and caucus dates.

A special committee made the decision Friday, thwarting efforts by national GOP leaders to push back the nominating process.

Officials in Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina have said they'll change their dates to stay ahead of Florida.

Those four states are the only ones allowed to go before March 6 under Republican and Democratic party rules.

"Today's decision by Florida is hugely disappointing and could have been avoided," said South Carolina GOP Chairman Chad Connelly. "Rogue states have once again dictated the Presidential nominating calendar. I call on my fellow RNC members and all Republicans to strongly condemn Florida's decision to hold their primary on January 31."

"States who have worked so hard to maintain the nominating calendar should not be penalized and the offenders, including Florida, should lose their entire allocations of delegates at the National Convention. Rules matter and the four traditional early states (Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina) did everything they could to avoid this unfortunate situation."

Connelly said South Carolina would not announce a primary date on Friday. It is unclear when the date will be announced.

One reason Florida chose the date was Missouri's earlier plan for a Feb. 7 primary.

But Missouri Republicans on Thursday decided to hold March caucuses instead of a primary.

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Copyright 2011 WIS. All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.