Gingrich, Huntsman dog straw polls

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Could Newt Gingrich or Jon Huntsman be more wrong about the Republican Party of Florida’s ‘Presidency 5’ straw poll?

William March reports that during a New Hampshire town hall meeting Tuesday night, Huntsman told voters their primary was more important than “a hokey party straw poll … You have to earn the votes.”

Huntsman spokesman Tim Miller made it clear to me Huntsman was not talking about ‘Presidency 5.’

Meanwhile, during a  Tampa campaign appearance Tuesday night, Gingrich said of P5, “We’re not actively competing … I assume that if somebody wants to go in and spend a lot of money they’ll do very very well.

“It has no effect on next year, and I think in that sense it’s not a predictor of anything.”

It has no effect on next year? Explain to me how you win the Republican nomination for President without winning Florida’s primary.  And what better way to build momentum for your campaign Florida than winning the state party’s straw poll?

As for Gingrich’s comments, I can’t remember Newt saying something more wrong than his assessment of P5.   As March notes, campaigns can’t bus in supporters or buy them voting tickets as in other party straw polls, and none of the campaigns are spending heavily on this year’s event, although some have in the past.

And as far as P5 being a “predictor”, well, let’s not forget that in the three elections when the state GOP has held the straw poll, it has picked the eventual winner of the Republican nomination every time—Ronald Reagan in 1980, George H.W. Bush in 1988 and Bob Dole in 1996.

This morning, I am a little disappointed that the two smartest Republicans in the presidential race are saying the dumbest things

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.