The Associated Press reports:
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Florida decided Friday to hold its Republican presidential primary on Jan. 31, snubbing a party rule against fast-track delegate-selection for 2012 and triggering angry responses from traditional early voting states which will now likely rejigger their calendars to stay ahead....
Officials in Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina say they'll probably change their dates to stay ahead of Florida.
They are the only states allowed to go before March 6 under Republican and Democratic party rules.
Iowa GOP Chairman Matt Strawn condemned Florida's action and said his caucus still will remain first, consistent with tradition. He said a date will be set after New Hampshire announces when it will hold its primary.
In a released statement, Florida GOP chairman Lenny Curry said the January 31 date "properly reflects the importance Florida will play on the national stage." A swing state that went for George W. Bush in 2000 and 2004 and for Barack Obama in 2008, Florida now has 29 electoral votes following the 2010 Census.