By JIM DAVENPORT
COLUMBIA, SC (AP) -- South Carolina Republicans will hold their first-in-the-South presidential primary on Jan. 21 to trump Florida's rule-breaking jump ahead in the party's calendar.
State GOP Chairman Chad Connelly made the announcement Monday. It caps days of speculation about how the state party would respond to Florida's decision to hold its primary on Jan. 31.
South Carolina has been poised to hold its primary in late February.
Florida's early date breaks Republican National Committee rules and would cause the state to lose half its delegates to next summer's national convention.
South Carolina, New Hampshire, Nevada and Iowa have been conferring on how to deal with Florida's move.
South Carolina's move will likely make the 2012 primary calendar look a lot like 2008, with Iowa's caucuses just days into the year.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)