MIAMI, FL- State Speaker of the House Dean Cannon confirms to FOX News that Florida's primary commission is expected to move next year's presidential primary date to January 31st to ensure at least a 5th place position in line of early votes that will help choose the Republican nominee, a decision that will scramble the GOP 2012 primary calendar.
"We have been in consultation with the governor's office and the senate president and we expect the commission to meet on Friday from 11 to 12, and I expect that they will pick January 31st as Florida's primary date," said Cannon in a telephone interview.
Cannon, Florida Governor Rick Scott, and Senate President Mike Haridopolos appoint the members to the commission that officially selects the date for the for the state's presidential primary election. The official vote by the special appointed committee will happen this Friday between 11AM to 12PM in Tallahassee.
By moving their primary date ahead of RNC's sanctioned calendar, Florida is in violation of RNC rules and could be penalized half their delegates at the Republican National Convention, which will be held in Tampa.
" The RNC continues to work with all states to ensure compliance with the rules set forth by the Republican and Democratic parties. Any state not in compliance will lose half of its delegates to the national convention," RNC spokesman Sean Spicer said to FOX News in a statement.
This development by Florida will surely accelerate the GOP primary process, and the traditional first four of Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina will leapfrog over Florida's move and likely bunch up at the beginning of 2012.
Cannon said that Florida officials had not spoken to party officials in other early primary states like New Hampshire, Nevada & South Carolina but the change was done primarily to fend off other non-sanctioned calendar moves by states, including Arizona, Michigan and Missouri.
South Carolina Republican chairman Chad Connelly called Florida's decision" frustrating and dissapointing."
" I am not sure it serves the voters or the candidates very well when you have all the states stacked up on each other, " South Carolina GOP Chairman Chad Connelly said in an interview. " We are going to move our date accordingly and we will be first in the South."
Connelly says they will announce tomorrow morning in Columbia, S.C what their new calendar date will be their primary
Tomorrow at 11AM SC GOP to announce their new calendar date to ensure that they stay "First in South primary."
States have to set their caucuses and primaries by the RNC deadline of October 1st.
Fox News' Jacqueline Pham contributed to this report.