Tallahassee, FL - The January primary in 2008 helped cement John McCain’s GOP nomination.
Now, with Obama in the White House, 2012 matters most to the GOP. New rules agreed upon by both Democrats and Republicans push the four early state primaries back to February. That is a problem for Florida. State law says our primary is January 31st.
GOP lawmakers who are in control, could push the date back , but so far they are balking.
“Florida is the most important state in the presidential election,” Florida Senate president Mike Haridopolos said.
State legislative leaders are also getting support for keeping the early date from Florida’s newest US Senator.
“No Republican can win the presidency without winning Florida, so we should make sure pretty early on that our nominee is someone who can fly here,” Senator Marco Rubio said.
Democratic state Senator Arthenia Joyner of Tampa has legislation to move the primary to March 6th.
Governor Rick Scott has said that he favors the earliest date possible for a primary that doesn’t cost the state any delegates. That would be March 6th.
Republicans from South Carolina are calling for the national GOP convention to be moved out of Florida, if the state votes early. Florida Democrats say the whole mess could embarrass state GOP leaders.
“The Republicans could be hosting the national convention and not have a delegation there,” Florida Democratic Party spokesman Eric Jotkoff said.
Florida Republican party leaders remain confident the national convention will stay in Tampa, no matter when the state decides to hold its Presidential Primary.
If the state does keep its January 31st date, Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Nevada are expected to all move their dates from February to January, and if the state sticks with the early date, it could lose delegates to the convention.