If you read one article today, read this story from Politico: Florida could decide next nominee

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If you read one article this morning, read Alexander Burn’s story in Politico: “It could take until next fall to resolve exactly when Florida’s primary will take place next year. The vote is currently scheduled for Jan. 31, but state lawmakers are considering several other dates in February and March that would allow Florida to go fifth in the primary lineup. If the state insisted on voting before the first Tuesday in March, it would face a delegate penalty at the convention in Tampa. Florida’s primary was out of order in 2008, too. But when it came time to impose penalties at the Republican national convention, the credentialing committee balked at punishing delegates from an essential general-election state. The rules are a bit different this time around. Florida’s delegates will be awarded proportionally instead of on a winner-take-all basis, so it’s possible for a candidate to place second or third and live to fight another day. But the 2008 experience is a big part of why state Republicans are so emboldened in their fight with the national party…

“Each 2012 candidate has a slightly different reason for targeting Florida. For Barbour, the huge, expensive state is one of the first places where his fundraising muscle and Southern charm could give him a leg up on the field. For a contender like Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty – or, potentially, Ambassador Jon Huntsman – a strong showing in Florida would cement any momentum earned in the smaller early states, an exhibition of strength in a state that couldn’t easily be dismissed. And former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney has made no secret of the central role Florida plays in his 2012 strategy. He’s been to the state five times this year – as recently as last weekend – versus combined total of zero visits to Iowa and South Carolina. For Romney, who is expected to emerge from the first four primaries with a combination of wins and losses, a big win in Florida could establish him as the clear frontrunner and break the momentum of any upstart surging out of Iowa.” Continue reading here.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.