COLUMBIA, SC — South Carolina will keep its first-in-the-south Republican presidential primary.
The Republican National Committee voted Friday to allow four states -- Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada -- to hold presidential primaries in February.
"Today's vote is a huge win for South Carolina and the country," S.C. GOP chairman Matt Moore said in a news release. "We have taken historic steps to reform the nominating process and return a Republican to the White House."
Since 1980, South Carolina has played a pivotal role in presidential politics by hosting the first primary in a southern state. S.C. primary voters correctly picked the Republican presidential nominee form 1980 to 2008. The streak ended in 2012, when voters selected Newt Gingrich. Mitt Romney would go on to win the Republican nomination, only to lose to President Barack Obama.
"Early states like South Carolina have an important role in the Presidential nominating process. They are a springboard to help underfunded and upstart candidates gain momentum and potentially compete across the whole country," National Committeewoman Cindy Costa said in a news release. "Allowing any candidate with great ideas to compete for President of the United States is a uniquely American ideal. It was important for us to protect that ideal."
Other states -- mainly Florida -- have tried to usurp South Carolina's hold on the early primary and the millions of dollars in advertising and political consulting fees that come with it. In 2012, Florida moved its primary to Jan. 31, and South Carolina and New Hampshire responded by moving their primaries to January. The party punished all three states by striping delegates to the Republican National Convention.