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South Carolina Republicans vow to hold primary despite cuts

CHARLESTON, South Carolina (Reuters) - South Carolina's Republican presidential primary will take place in early 2012 despite the elimination of state funding, state party executive director Matt Moore said on Tuesday.

"We're going to raise the money," Moore told Reuters.

He said the February 28 primary, which party leaders hope will be the first held in the South, will cost about $1.5 million.

In 2008, the state funded both the Democratic and Republican presidential primaries, Moore said. However, Republican Governor Nikki Haley came into office this year opposing the use of taxpayer money for political primaries, he said.

The party has collected about $125,000 in filing fees so far that will be put toward the primary, he said. He said they expect to collect a total of $400,000 in filing fees.

"We've picked the correct Republican nominee in every election cycle since 1980," Moore said. "People look to South Carolina as a standard bearer."

(Reporting by Harriet McLeod; Editing by Colleen Jenkins and Greg McCune)