With Florida moving primary up, debates target Sunshine State

Florida will host two presidential debates right before its Jan. 31 primary.

CNN and the Republican Party of Florida announced Friday they will host a Jacksonville debate in late January, right before the primary. The announcement came just hours after the state party officially moved its primary date to Jan. 31.

NBC, National Journal, St. Petersburg Times and The Florida Council of 100 announced shortly afterward that their previously scheduled Tampa debate will take place Jan. 30, the eve of the primary.

Florida will be stripped of half its GOP National Convention delegates because of its move up. But the state is banking on having a big early impact on the GOP nomination — and the debate sponsors hope it does too.

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