(Reuters) – Four U.S. states holding contests early in 2012 to choose the Republican presidential nominee threatened on Thursday to leapfrog Florida if it goes ahead with a primary election date of January 31.
Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina are the only four states permitted by the Republican National Committee (RNC) to hold primaries or caucuses earlier than March 6, the date dubbed “Super Tuesday” with contests in multiple states.
Florida’s announcement on Wednesday that it wanted to hold its primary in January started a game of leapfrog among states to assert their influence in picking the nominee and to draw millions of dollars in candidate spending.
As it currently stands, the Iowa caucuses are set for February 6, the New Hampshire primary for February 14, the Nevada caucuses for February 18 and the South Carolina primary for February 28.
Iowa Republican Party Chairman Matt Strawn issued a statement indicating the four states’ plan to stick together in their efforts to keep their early contest spots.