Florida to hold presidential primary on last day in January 2012

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) -- Florida will hold its presidential primary on Jan. 31, a decision that is expected to prompt other states to move up their primary and caucus dates.

A special committee made the decision Friday, thwarting efforts by national GOP leaders to push back the nominating process.

Officials in Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina have said they'll change their dates to stay ahead of Florida.

Those four states are the only ones allowed to go before March 6 under Republican and Democratic party rules.

One reason Florida chose the date was Missouri's earlier plan for a Feb. 7 primary.

But Missouri Republicans on Thursday decided to hold March caucuses instead of a primary.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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