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House Leaders Respond to Florida’s Effort to Move Presidential Primary to January 31

CONCORD – House Speaker William O’Brien (R-Mont Vernon) and Majority Leader D.J. Bettencourt (R-North Salem) today offered statements in response to the news that Florida is planning to move its presidential primary to January 31.  Both the Republican and Democratic National Committees set a primary window for the four early states (Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina) to hold contests before March 1.  The RNC has indicated that it will penalize other states with a loss of delegates that move their nominating contest before that date.

House Speaker William O’Brien

“Florida’s effort to move into the early primary period not only hurts the process, by cutting into the type of vetting that we do so well here in New Hampshire, but it also hurts Florida, by costing them delegates and watering down that state’s impact.  I would certainly hope that the Florida legislature reconsiders this ill-conceived plan to accelerate their primary and to strengthen their own weight by not cutting into their delegates.  Regardless, I have full confidence that Secretary of State Bill Gardner will do whatever is necessary to protect the strength of the first-in-the-nation primary by using all the tools at his disposal to set the date effectively.  Florida may dilute the value of their primary, but we certainly won’t allow their actions to minimize the New Hampshire Primary.”

House Majority Leader D.J. Bettencourt

“Florida’s decision to schedule their primary in January would be in violation of RNC rules and I am confident that there will be serious repercussions  for such a move.  The State of New Hampshire has a long and storied history of vetting presidential candidates and we do it better than anyone else.  We have perfected the art of retail politics to the point where it has become our unofficial state sport—we’re passionate about the process and we’ve earned our place in line.  Florida should respect the integrity of the nominating process and play by the rules.”