SC GOP fights to keep primary 'First in the South'

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Every four years since Ronald Reagan won the Republican nomination in 1980, South Carolina has been better than a psychic when it comes to choosing the GOP presidential candidate. For 30 years, the Palmetto State has chosen correctly and has been rewarded with the distinction as the first primary in the South. But now all that history is in jeopardy.

"Florida's being a bully on the block to the smaller states," says Charleston GOP Chairwoman Lin Bennett. "I think Florida should be severely punished."

Bennett is referring to punishing the Sunshine state for leap frogging South Carolina's primary date of February 28, 2012, a move she says not only breaks rules set by the Republican National Committee but those unwritten as well.

Friday, Florida announced their Republican Primary would be held on January 31, nearly a month before South Carolina.

Saturday, SC GOP Chairman Chad Connelly had strong words for the state trying to strip away the title of "First in the South."

"It ticks me off that Florida in their effort to be greedy and selfish to do this," says Connelly. "For South Carolinians they took a month away from campaign time for candidates. They really did South Carolina, New Hampshire, Iowa and Nevada wrong."

Connelly will be the man that makes the call on the Palmetto States primary date early Monday morning and he says no matter what, South Carolina's date will be before Florida's. His counterpart in Charleston agrees.

"Our system is designed to give the smaller states a say in the process so they're not run over by the bigger more popular states," says Bennett. "But Florida doesn't seem to take that constitutional concept very seriously."

Before Florida's change of date, they were apart of Super Tuesday primaries on March 6.

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