South Carolina Republicans looking to protect the state's first-in-the-South primary asked the national GOP on Thursday to move the 2012 presidential convention from Florida if officials there have its contest sooner than permitted.
"This is about following the rules," said South Carolina GOP chairwoman Karen Floyd. Her counterpart in Iowa, which traditionally has the leadoff caucuses, agreed.
Floyd suggested moving the political prize to another state that's fighting unions or that has close U.S. Senate races.
She suggested even moving it to a key swing state like North Carolina instead of holding it in Florida, which she said appeared bent on breaking Republican National Committee rules that call for Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina to hold contests before any other state in 2012.
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However, it's unlikely the RNC will heed Floyd's suggestion. RNC spokeswoman Kirsten Kukowski said Thursday that the convention would stay in Tampa, where convention planning already is well under way.
The issue is especially sensitive in South Carolina, where officials brag that no GOP nominee has been minted without first winning the state's primary.
Florida and other states that want a bigger say in choosing the nominee and break the rules by jumping ahead in line can face penalties, including losing delegates to the convention.
Some states, including Georgia, Connecticut, Virginia, Maryland and California, have or are working to move contest dates back to no earlier than March 6.