Fight to set date of Florida's presidential primary heats up

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Florida Republican Party Chairman Dave Bitner says the state party is open to moving its primary to fifth in the nation, a statement coming as South Carolina and Iowa stepped up warnings that if Florida goes too early it should be punished, reports the News Service of Florida. Roll Call quoted Bitner in a statement as saying that he and legislative leaders are working to move Florida? primary later in the year from its current Jan. 31 date. The leaders ?gree that moving the primary into late February, making Florida fifth on the calendar,?would be good for the party as a whole, Bitner said, according to Roll Call. South Carolina Republican Chairwoman Karen Floyd this week wrote to the Republican National Committee to argue that Tampa should lose the 2012 convention if the state doesn? allow other states to have their primaries first. ?f Florida does not respect the process by which our primary calendar was set, the RNC should not be bound to the process by which the convention site was selected,” Floyd wrote. “If Florida refuses to move its primary date into compliance with RNC rules, I am respectfully requesting that the Committee convene a special task force to select a new site for the 2012 Convention outside the state of Florida.” The RNC has so far dismissed such calls, saying the convention will be held in Tampa as planned. House Speaker Dean Cannon said this week that Florida should be an early state because it is a diverse mirror of the national political make-up and as such, should be an early test for candidates. Bitner has also said that the state? diversity ?rovides the perfect litmus test for selecting the most viable Republican presidential nominee.

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