South Carolina GOP Chair announces new primary date

SCGOP Chairman Chad Connelly

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WCIV) - South Carolina's republican party leaders have announced a new presidential primary date.

The state chairman made the announcement Monday morning in Columbia. The South Carolina primary will take place on Saturday January 21st. This follows Florida's move to change their primary date.

Friday, party officials from Florida said they'd push up theirs to January 31st, which some say would overshadow South Carolina's role as a decisive primary state.

Politico reporter Alexander Burns says that when Florida moved up its primary date to January 31st, it broke all the rules that both political parties set for the order that states are supposed to go in 2012. Burns says this will force states like South Carolina and Iowa to move their primaries up, which in turn will cut down on the amount of time the candidates will have to campaign.

"Last Friday, a nine person committee brought chaos to the 2012 calendar. Today, South Carolina is making things right," said SCGOP Chairman Chad Connelly.

On Friday, Governor Nikki Haley told ABC News 4 she wouldn't allow Florida to keep South Carolina from being the first GOP primary in the south.

"No matter what date they move it to, we're going to push ours in front," Haley said Friday

But these moves could come with some consequences.

"We have a situation where the RNC has said any state that goes before a certain date... that's Feb. 6th in the case of South Carolina and March 6th for Florida... is going to have their delegations cut in half or worse," said Burns. "The real question is once the nomination is decided, when the candidates and the delegates actually go to their party convention next summer, will the RNC go ahead and impose that penalty?"

If that is the case, why would a state like South Carolina or Florida risk losing delegates?

According to Burns it is all about influence. "The traditional calculus for a state like South Carolina is that you have more influence over who the nominee ends up being if you go a little earlier, and to give up that position could potentially sacrifice the state's power going into 2016, 2020 and on," said Burns.