South Carolina Republicans will move their primary up to Jan. 21, making them the first domino to fall after Florida moved its date up to Jan. 31 last Friday and pushing the other early-voting states to schedule their dates even earlier in the month.
The state’s move will cost it half its delegates at the Republican National Convention because of Republican National Committee (RNC) rules designed to keep the primary process from interfering with the holiday season. But South Carolina’s response is just the first that ensures this will not happen — Iowa, New Hampshire and Nevada all plan to hold their primaries and caucuses before South Carolina’s.
South Carolina Republican Party Chairman Chad Connelly slammed Florida for its move during his announcement of South Carolina’s move. “Forty-nine states played pretty in the sandbox,” he said. “Only one did it wrong.
“A nine-person committee brought chaos to the Republican nominating calendar,” said Connelly, attacking the nine-member Republican commission that moved the state’s primary. “Today, South Carolina restores order.”
Connelly praised RNC Chairman Reince Priebus, but said that South Carolina’s loss of half its delegates as the result of the move was “just not right” and that he would push hard against the rule.
New Hampshire Secretary of State Bill Gardner said on Friday that he might move the state’s primary up into December, which would make it the earliest in history. The state’s filing deadline for candidates now ends on Oct. 28.