Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, and South Carolina are the only four states cleared by the Republican National Committee to conduct their primaries/caucuses prior to Super Tuesday (scheduled for March 6th, 2012 this election cycle), and Iowans in particular take a good deal of pride in their First-in-the-Nation status. The Iowa Caucus is currently scheduled for February 6th, and the other three states thereafter, but it appears that Florida is feeling a little obstreperous, reports The Hill:
Florida made its plans to hold its Republican presidential primary on Jan. 31 official on Friday, setting off a reshuffling of the primary calendar as early states scramble to move up their contests to protect their cherished statuses.
A date-selection committee voted 7-2 to hold the primary in January, following a failed vote to hold it March 6 — the earliest date permitted under national party rules.
The move makes it all but assured that Florida will lose half of its delegates at the GOP National Convention — ironically being held next year in Tampa, Fla.
The four states with the RNC's blessing to hold their contests before March 6th are presenting a united front and doubling down on their promises to shift their dates forward. But the deadline for states to declare the dates of their primaries is Saturday, and, pigs-at-the-trough style, other states are jockeying to assert their weight in the race:
In addition, Arizona and Michigan have both moved to hold their primaries on Feb. 28, also flaunting the national rules. Alaska, Georgia and North Dakota are also considering moving their primary dates.
As the RNC demonstrated in 2008, they aren't afraid to penalize states and strip them of some delegates for bucking the hierarchy. The scheduling shift means we will likely see primaries in the wee days of January, keeping both candidates and reporters working straight through what should be The Most Wonderful Time of the Year.