Only four states are allowed to have a Republican presidential primary event prior to 3/6/12, and Florida is not one of them. It appears the state is willing to risk the loss of half of its convention delegates my moving its date to 1/31/12, a move which may force the other four states to adjust as well.
The four designated state are Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada. A move from Florida could force the quartet all the way to middle or even early January dates.
According to CNN, the Republican National Committee is trying to get the state to settle for a 2/21/11 date, which would make its event #5 on the schedule but would still cost it half of its delegates.
According to the report, Michigan has already jumped ahead of the deadline and is going to hold its event 2/28/12.
The Florida Republican Party is believed to be strongly favoring the 1/31/12 date, and is said to be casting a wary eye on other states it believes may be ready to go early, including Colorado, Georgia and Missouri.
The RNC and others fear that a move by Florida will trigger a stampede and force the candidates to campaign over the holidays.
RBR-TVBR observation: States fear being in a position at the end of the primary line holding a vote on an issue that has long since been decided, and covet the ability to make or break candidates on the front end. This sort of position jockeying is looking like a trend.
Do broadcasters have an interest in this? Absolutely – it is much better to be in a state with a hot contest going than not. But other than the likelihood that things will be hot in Iowa and New Hampshire, there’s no telling otherwise. In 2008, John McCain wrapped up the Republican nomination fairly early, but the battle between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton stretched all the way to June.
Only time will tell who the winners and losers are in this battle. However, we suspect there is one group guaranteed to win: That would be the manufacturers of headache remedies, who should get a lot of extra business from the leadership of the big national parties.