Media coverage of the RPOF’s ‘Presidency 5’ straw poll (8/20)

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Broward/Palm Beach New Times – Who Will Win Florida’s Presidency 5 Straw Poll?
About a month from now, most of the GOP presidential candidates will be in Orlando for the Republican Party of Florida’s “Presidency 5” straw poll.It’ll work a little differently than the recent Iowa straw poll — the 3,500 delegates will be pre-selected, and neither Michele Bachmann nor Mitt Romney will be in attendance.

Word in Florida Republican circles is that Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann is reconsidering her decision to ignore the Republican Party of Florida’s straw poll in September. But her campaign suggests otherwise.
Bachmann called RPOF chair Dave Bitner and spoke with him today about the straw poll. Just what they said specifically is unclear, but some Republicans say she was discussing an about-face.
National Review – Florida’s Presidency 5
First off, the Florida Republican party’s Presidency series is no Ames. It is trickier in Florida to dominate the poll with one candidate’s fans: All the 3,500 delegates who vote in the Florida straw poll pay their own conference fees — whereas in Ames, campaigns are allowed to offer free tickets and transportation to lure delegates. Also, in Iowa, it is up to individuals to decide whether to attend, whereas in Florida each county is allotted a certain number of delegates, based on that county’s Republican population, and three-quarters of each county’s delegates are chosen by lottery (the other quarter are chosen by a county GOP committee). In Florida, for a candidate to participate, all he or she has to do is give a speech to the delegates the day of the straw poll. There is no participation fee or anything equivalent to the Ames tent and entertainment demands. And regardless of whether a candidate officially participates or not, all major candidates will be listed on the ballot.
Two winners of the “the Governor Scott Presidency 5 Sweepstakes” will be announced on September 16, 2011 via this “Rick Scott Facebook Fan Page”. Winners will also be contacted using the email address provided by the entrant.
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National Review Online (with a helpful hand-off by SaintPetersblog.com) writes today that Florida’s Presidency 5 straw poll will be an important gauge of the GOP field.In making the case, Katrina Trinko notes how P5 differs substantially and significantly from the circus at Ames, Iowa. She also points out the historic reliability of Florida’s polls in predicting the GOP nominee.

But Trinko failed to grasp another key point. Though Iowa winner Michele Bachmann and putative leader Mitt Romney say they won’t participate in the Sept. 24 poll, the RPOF intends to put their names on the straw poll ballot anyway.

The four leading candidates — Hasner, LeMieux, McCallister and Miller — will have two chances for a showdown in Orlando come September. They will square off in a straw poll held by the American Conservative Union’s Conservative Political Action Conference event on Sept. 23 and will address the Republican Party of Florida (RPOF) during the Presidency 5 event on the same day.“For three days, the eyes of the nation will be on Florida’s Republicans,” said RPOF Chairman David Bitner on Thursday when the RPOF announced that the Senate candidates would be speaking at Presidency 5. “We are thrilled that part of our agenda will include presentations from our top Republican Senate candidates. Bill Nelson’s time in the Senate needs to end in 2012, and these candidates will make that case to Florida.”

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.