10/02/2011 01:42 am ET Updated Dec 01, 2011

Nevada Caucus 2012: State Moves Voting Date Earlier On Primary Calendar

Nevada's Republican Party has decided to move the state's caucus to January so that it keeps its traditional early-voting spot, The Las Vegas Review-Journal reports. The original date for the caucus had been February 18.

Nevada's caucus will now be held sometime after New Hampshire's primary, traditionally the first in the nation. New Hampshire has not yet set its voting date.

The drastic move means that Nevada will lose half its delegates at the national convention, a penalty for opting out of the traditional calendar.

The schedule change comes on the heels of Florida's decision to move its primary to January 31 in an effort to gain early clout in the primary season. That move did not sit well with Republicans in early-voting states like Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina, all of whom have shuffled to stay ahead of Florida. HuffPost reported that New Hampshire's Secretary of State reluctantly moved up the state's filing period, and would not rule out the possibility of holding its primary before the end of the calendar year. Meanwhile, South Carolina Republican Chairman Chad Connelly released a statement accusing Florida of "going rogue," according to Patch.

For GOP Chairwoman Amy Tarkanian, the benefits of voting early outweighed the costs of riling the national Republican Party.

"Tarkanian had expressed reservations about losing half the state's delegates to the Republican National Convention," Politico reports. "She said on Saturday that concerns about losing Nevada's voice and influence were more important to the party than losing half its delegates, as it will by moving its caucus to January."

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this article stated that S.C. Republican Chairman Chad Connelly had accused South Carolina of going rogue. His accusation was directed at Florida.