Florida to hold primary in late January: Calendar in chaos
You can't blame them. There are hundreds of millions of dollars at stake for a state to be in on the first group of presidential primaries. This is largely because those are the most relevant contests and will feature the most candidates spending tons of money on everything from printing to ads, to hotel accommodations.
So tradition runs smack up against the reality that states are desperate for the kind of boost that swarms of politicians, activists, reporters, and hangers on can give to the businesses.
Florida House Speaker Dean Cannon told CNN on Tuesday that a state commission exploring potential primary dates is likely to choose January 31 to hold the nominating contest.
If that happens, it would almost certainly force the traditional early states of Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada to leapfrog Florida and move their primaries and caucuses into early- to mid-January.
"We are expecting to meet on Friday from 11 to 12, and I expect that they will pick January 31 as Florida's primary date," said Cannon, who helped select members of the nine-member commission.
States are required to submit the dates of their primary and caucuses to the Republican National Committee no later than Saturday, but most states are expected to choose their dates by the close of business Friday.
Florida's move would directly violate RNC rules that forbid any state other than the first four "carve-out" states -- Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina -- from holding a primary before March 6.
States that ignore the RNC rules are subject to losing half of their delegates -- party representatives who ultimately choose the nominee -- to the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Florida, next August.
If Florida goes ahead with this plan, other states like Missouri, Colorado, and Georgia may choose a date in January that might push Iowa and perhaps New Hampshire into December.
That's 2 months away.
Not everyone can go first. If anything, this is making an argument for some kind of national primary day, or perhaps regional primaries. But elections, according to the Constitution, are entirely a matter for the states to decide. And as long as Florida, and other states, don't mind losing half their delegates to the convention, the primaries will be a mess.