GOP primary schedule a mess - and getting messier

The quadrennial bickering and manuevering among states to have an impact primary or caucus so that their state benefits in media exposure - and the tens of millions of dollars poured into the economy - is really beginning to heat up.

Confusion is the byword as Missouri and Florida threaten the sacrosanct order of the early primaries; Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina. Nevada is in there somewhere too, but they aren't expected to jump ahead of any of the first three.

Iowa has set its caucuses tentatively for February 6. The national GOP has mandated that other states must defer to the first three and schedule their primaries accordingly. But Florida doesn't want to get lost in the shuffle and for some reason Missouri wants their primary in January or early February.

This raises the specter of the Iowa Caucuses being conducted in December.

Iowa officials are being very clear: no matter the chatter or any official moves from other early states to move up their primary dates, the first caucuses will stay first.

And if that means pushing the voting to January - or even December - to make sure that no other early state leapfrogs to the front, Iowa GOP spokesman Casey Mills says they're ready to do it.

We've been consistent and vocal since the beginning of this conversation in that while the date of the caucus could change, the order will not," Mills said.

For all the continuing flux of the 2012 primary schedule, Mills said he believes all the states currently out of compliance with the rules of the Republican National Committee will move their primaries back, letting Iowa stick with the scheduled Feb. 6 caucuses.

There are penalties assessed by the national party if a state violates the rules so it's unclear if any of these preliminary plans will bear fruit.

One "National Primary Day" would fix the mess but politicians never do anything the easy way.

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