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Sept. 30 (Bloomberg) -- A Florida commission voted to defy national party rules and set the state’s presidential primary for Jan. 31, 2012, a move likely to accelerate the Republican nominating process.
The panel voted 7-2 today to select the January date in a bid to secure an early and influential spot in the presidential election, said Chris Cate, a spokesman for Florida’s secretary of state.
“The commission was very clear about what they wanted to do, and that was put Florida in a prominent position on the primary calendar and in the election overall,” Cate said in an interview.
The plan is likely to shift the start of voting in the Republican race a month earlier than national party leaders had intended, condensing a number of important contests into January and creating a holiday-season campaign crunch that officials and candidates had hoped to avoid.
Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada are expected to move up the dates of their nominating contests to maintain their status as the first four states voting in the race. The Iowa caucuses, which traditionally start the process, had been tentatively set for Feb. 6.
--Editors: Don Frederick, Laurie Asseo
To contact the reporter on this story: Julie Hirschfeld Davis in Washington at Jdavis159@bloomberg.net.
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