South Carolina primary to be held Jan. 21

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - South Carolina Republicans plan to hold the 2012 presidential primary on January 21.

State GOP Chairman Chad Connelly made the announcement Monday at his party's headquarters, capping days of speculation about how the first-in-the-South primary state will respond to Florida's decision to hold its primary on Jan. 31.

"Last Friday, a nine person committee brought chaos to the 2012 calendar. Today, South Carolina is making things right," said Connelly. "South Carolina Republicans have a thirty year track record of picking the eventual Republican Presidential nominee. We will continue that historic tradition on January 21, 2012.

"It will undoubtedly be a spirited campaign to make Barack Obama just the worst ONE term President in American history," said Connelly. "We are united in this mission, and any candidate who ignores South Carolina does so at great peril."

Florida's early date breaks Republican National Committee rules and would bring a penalty of losing half its delegates to the RNC's convention next summer.

South Carolina, New Hampshire, Nevada and Iowa had been conferring on how to deal with Florida's move.

The states are expected to move primary dates forward and make the 2012 calendar look a lot like the 2008 calendar with Iowa's caucus coming early in the new year.

Related story:

Copyright 2011 WIS. All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.