It’s official: Florida has, as expected, pushed its primary to Jan. 31, throwing the GOP nominating calendar into disarray. Florida’s primary committee announced the move today, arguing that important battleground states like Florida should be earlier in the process, the St. Petersburg Times reports. “This is about getting the most Floridians involved at the earliest possible time,” said one state senator on the committee.
But critics of the move say it will decrease Florida’s influence, because the state could lose half its delegates to the Republican National Convention—which is in Florida this year—for snubbing party rules. "This ‘me-first’ petulance is embarrassing,” the Orlando Sentinel opines. "The state deserves whatever punishment the national party hands down." Iowa GOP chairman Matt Strawn, meanwhile, scolded Florida for its “petulant behavior,” telling Politico that Iowa would vote as early as necessary to maintain its first-in-the-nation status. (Read more Florida primary stories.)