Florida GOP debates moving its '12 presidential primary

Florida Republicans are considering moving their presidential primary to avoid being penalized at the party's national convention.

The nascent proposal would see the 2012 primary moved to April, with a non-binding straw poll and debate held in January instead.

"It's good for the state, good for the party and will give a real boost to the candidates," state Sen. John Thrasher (R) told the St. Petersburg Times.

Part of the concern for Florida Republicans is that under national party rules, any state with a January primary like Florida's would lose half its delegates at the convention. The GOP 2012 convention will be held in Tampa.

Rep. David Rivera (R-Fla.) told the paper that such penalties won't matter because the vote at the convention will be symbolic.

"What's important is that Florida should have a real voice," he said.

Democrats, meanwhile, aren't particularly engaged on the issue of the 2012 primary date because President Obama isn't expected to face a challenge. 

Both parties have sought to discourage states from moving their primaries into January, when Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina hold their contests.