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RNC chair warns Florida not to sked an early primary, Rod Smith says: 'let's agree'

Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus visited Tampa today, site of the 2012 Republican National Convention. He came with two messages:

• Priebus urged Florida lawmakers not to hold an early presidential primary in 2012 in violation of RNC rules. "I would encourage the Legislature to do everything they can to abide by the rules passed by both the Democratic National Committee and the Republican National Committee together to make sure we can bring some order into the presidential election process," Priebus said. The scheduling of Florida's primary is something Priebus, elected two weeks ago to replace former RNC chairman Michael Steele, said he has already discussed with Florida Gov. Rick Scott. Asked whether Scott told Priebus that he wanted a primary as early as possible without losing delegates, the RNC chairman declined further comment. Read more here.

• Two weeks after firing the party's Tampa advance team, Priebus says arrangements for the GOP's 2012 national convention in Tampa are on track. "I've met with the leaders of the Host Committee this morning, and I've got to tell you, they're doing a fantastic job here in Tampa and the entire Tampa Bay area in ensuring that Florida and this area has a world-class convention, and they're well on their way to doing that," he said. Read more here.

In response, Florida Democratic Party chairman Rod Smith urged Scott and Republican legislators to work with Dems to reach a workable agreement.

“As Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus reminds Florida’s Republican leaders of the penalties they would face unless they change the Presidential Primary date, today I am renewing my call for bi-partisan cooperation on this issue,” Smith said in a statement.

“While changing the date of the primary would require action by the Republican Legislature and Governor, I am confident that we can make this happen given the Governor’s expressed desire to hold the primary as early as possible without losing delegates.”

-- Rick Danielson, Times Staff Writer contributed to this report