South Carolina secures 2016 "First in the South" Republican presidential primary

In a vote of the full 168-member Republican National Committee (RNC) held Friday, South Carolina Republicans secured the 2016 "First in the South" Republican Presidential Primary.

The primary will be held in February 2016.

Under new RNC rules approved by the full committee, only South Carolina, Iowa, New Hampshire and Nevada will hold contests in February 2016. States that "jump" ahead of the four early states will be severely penalized.

In 2012, the lack of such severe penalties brought chaos to the nominating calendar and pushed the first four contests to early January of that year.

"South Carolina leaders including National Committeewoman Cindy Costa, Committeeman Glenn McCall, and former Chairman Chad Connelly worked extremely hard over the past few years to secure our 2016 'First in the South' primary. They deserve a huge thanks. Today's vote is a huge win for South Carolina and the country. We have taken historic steps to reform the nominating process and return a Republican to the White House," SCGOP Chairman Matt Moore said.