Washington (CNN) – The South Carolina and Iowa Republican parties on Thursday demanded that the 2012 Republican National Convention in Tampa be re-located to a different state unless Florida Republicans move their presidential primary to a later date.
Florida's primary is currently slated for January 31, 2012.
That's in direct violation of the presidential nominating calendar ratified last year by the Democratic and Republican National Committees, which carved out February for the official start of the nomination fight and once again placed contests in Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina at the front of the process.
South Carolina GOP Chairwoman Karen Floyd, eager to protect her state's influential role in primary process, sent a letter to Republican National Committee members Thursday accusing the Florida legislature of "thumbing its nose at the RNC" by ignoring the agreed-upon calendar.
Florida's primary date can only be adjusted through legislation. Republicans control both house of the Florida legislature as well as the governor's mansion.
"Simply put, if Florida does not respect the process by which our primary calendar was set, the RNC should not be bound to the process by which the convention site was selected," Floyd wrote.
Floyd's move was immediately endorsed by Iowa GOP Chairman Matthew Strawn. The Iowa caucuses are tentatively scheduled for February 6, 2012.
Floyd asked the RNC to convene a task force to search for new convention sites. She proposed re-locating the event to one of the states currently embroiled in high-profile labor fights, like Ohio or Wisconsin.
She also said the convention could take place in a key Senate battleground state such as Virginia, Missouri or Michigan. Or the RNC could choose a city in North Carolina to rival the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, she said.
"My purpose today is just to begin the dialogue," Floyd told reporters on a conference call Thursday, noting that she had already received encouragement from RNC members in other states.
Florida Republicans, Floyd said, feel "emboldened" to flout the national party rules because Tampa was chosen to host the 2012 Republican National Convention.
The RNC can punish states that violate the approved calendar by stripping them of convention delegates, but Florida House Speaker Dean Cannon recently suggested to CNN that any delegate penalties imposed on his state by the RNC would be largely irrelevant simply because Florida is hosting the convention.
But Cannon tersely brushed off Floyd's proposal Thursday.
"I look forward to meeting the delegates from South Carolina in Tampa next summer," Cannon told CNN.
UPDATE: A spokesman for the Republican National Committee said Thursday that the convention plans will not change.
"The convention will be in Tampa." said RNC spokesman Sean Spicer. "At the same time, we will enforce the rules agreed to by all states with respect to the primary and caucus calendar."