COLUMBIA -- South Carolina's Republican Party chairman said Friday there still is no deal to coordinate presidential primary schedules with Florida as a deadline looms next week to set dates.
Chad Connelly said he has been trying to work out a deal that keeps South Carolina state first. The goal? A Florida's contest so close behind South Carolina's that no other state can squeeze between them.
"No deals have been worked out," Connelly said. "We missed the opportunity a month ago."
While Florida Gov. Rick Scott and South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley haven't been involved in trying to set dates, there have been a number of party leadership conversations, Scott spokesman Brian Burgess said. "We don't want this to turn into a calendar fight."
And for Connelly, it's a squeeze play that leaves South Carolina holding the first contest in the South.
On Friday, the Florida commission that will set the primary date met, but delayed action until next week, a day before the Oct. 1 deadline to pick a spot on the calendar.
The Republican National Committee's schedule calls for the Iowa caucus on Feb. 6, New Hampshire's primary Feb. 14, Nevada's caucus on Feb. 18 and South Carolina's primary on Feb. 28. Other states, including Florida, can hold primaries on March 6.
The early-voting states can move their dates up without penalty.
States breaking in line would lose half their delegates. Florida, which hosts the 2012 convention, broke the rules in 2008 and lost half its delegates.
And this time, Florida Republicans want to go ahead of Arizona, which already plans to break the schedule with a Feb. 28 primary.
While some states already have submitted dates, RNC spokesman Sean Spicer said there is no sign that the calendar scramble has been worked out. "I think we're going to have to wait until Oct. 1," Spicer said.