South Carolina GOP officials say they are probably going to shift the date of the Republican presidential primary. The move comes after Arizona Governor Jan Brewer signed an executive order Monday that would move that state’s primary to February 28– the same day as South Carolina’s.
SCGOP Chairman Chad Connelly said South Carolina will keep its place as one of the first four states to hold a presidential primary, even if it has to move to January. However, it’s more likely the primary would be earlier in February.
Arizona is violating the party’s rules— which say only Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina can hold their primaries before March. When Florida attempted a similar move in 2008, Republican officials did not seat the state’s delegates at the GOP convention.
“I’m trying to be the guy who says, ‘Let’s go back the fact that we’re the party of the rule of law,” Connelly said, “Rules are rules and they’re set for a reason. I’d just encourage all these other states to stay intact with the calendar.”
Connelly said there’s not a big window for the early primary states to hold their elections if Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina all have to move theirs up.
Connelly does have a unique power in South Carolina in that any GOP primary does not have to be approved by the state government. He said that gives him the ability to wait up to the October 1 deadline to set South Carolina’s primary date, a luxury other state party leaders do not have.