Florida Primary Date Concerns

By: Troy Kinsey Email
By: Troy Kinsey Email

Three years ago, Florida came through for John McCain, delivering a critical early primary win. A springboard to early Tuesday - and ultimately the Republican nomination.

Our 2012 primary is again scheduled for the last Tuesday in January.
But, Florida Democratic Party Chairman Rod Smith calls it a bad idea.
He's asking his Republican counterparts to think about pushing the date back - to March.

Rod Smith , Florida Democratic Party Chair, says, "Whenever you place Florida, it's going to be a major state in the process, and I think it is more important to be meaningful than to be first, and so I think that we're paying a disproportionate price for kind of an idea, 'we ought to be out there first'."

Under national party rules, both republicans and democrats here in Florida are penalized over the early primary. Back in 2008, even though Hillary Clinton won Florida, the results didn't count at the party convention.

State republicans almost lost half of their convention voting power before the national party re-considered. Former GOP U.S. Senator George LeMieux was instrumental in enacting the early primary.
He doesn't disagree it would be ironic if Florida republicans lost influence at a convention being held in their own backyard.
But, he doesn't think that'll happen.

George LeMieux , (R) former U.S. Senator, "I suspect that, as important as Florida is in presidential politics, and the fact that the convention is going to be held right here in Florida, in Tampa Bay, that our delegates will be seated right there in the front, as they always are, no matter when we have our presidential preference primary."

Republican leaders in the state legislature appear to feel the same way. It's effectively up to them to change the primary date. And they've given no indication that date will be anything but January 31st, 2012.

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