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POLITICS

Florida Primary Date Tussle Divides Republicans

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Republicans Sen. Marco Rubio and Gov. Rick Scott of Florida.(GETTY IMAGES)

In 2007, the Florida legislature - which was led by then-Speaker Rubio - moved the state's primary to January in an attempt to gain greater influence in the nominating process. While the move drew a formal rebuke from the national party, it didn't create too much of a stir because the four early states held their nominating contests in January, too - allowing Florida to hold their fifth-in-the-nation primary on Jan. 29, 2008. This allowed Florida to both adhere to its new guidelines while respecting the wishes of the RNC and the traditions of the first four states. But with the nominating season scheduled to begin an entire month later in 2012 - with the Iowa caucuses tentatively slated for Feb. 6 - it appears that such a resolution is impossible this time around. During a recent trip to Florida, Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus encouraged the legislature to abide by RNC rules, placing himself at odds with Republican state legislators favoring the early primary. Meanwhile, Scott appears to be in favor of a compromise that would have the primary take place as early as possible, without losing delegates. -- Tim Alberta contributed to this report.

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