National Journal: In defending early primary, Florida has math on its side

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The National Journal‘s Beth Reinhard lays out Florida’s case for holding an early presidential primary AND keeping the 2012 RNC convention. An excerpt:

Florida Senate President Mike Haridopolos emphasized that Florida is not planning to jump in front of Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Nevada, the four states chosen by the national party to hold the earliest primaries and caucuses in February 2012. Florida isn’t supposed to vote until March 1, but state lawmakers have yet to push back the late January date it chose for the 2008 primary.

?e simply want to go fifth,? Haridopolos said, adding, ?dle threats by other states are not productive.?

In astatement issued late on Thursday, Florida GOP Chairman Dave Bitner proposed a late February primary date as a compromise. It’s unclear if that will satisfy the earliest voting states, but the bottom line is that their leverage is limited.

GOP leaders in Iowa and South Carolina forgot two important things when they called for a committee to select a new convention site: the map and the math. Republicans cannot win the White House without Florida’s mother lode of delegates.

RNC Chief of Staff Jeff Larson acknowledged as much in a statement on Thursday laced with resignation: ?he convention will be in Tampa.?

Even the leader of the New Hampshire Republican Party, equally adamant about his state holding the first primary, undermined his smaller-state cohorts.

?he suggestions that the convention may be moved from Tampa, or that their delegates won? be counted?? sure none of that will come to pass,? said Chairman Jack Kimball. ?n the end, I am confident that saner minds must and will prevail.?

?o reward this arrogance with our national convention is a great disservice to the Republican activists, donors, and elected officials nationwide who support the RNC,? Strawn said on Thursday. ?here must be consequences to the continued slow-walking by Florida legislators to get their state in compliance.?

South Carolina’s Floyd went so far as to suggest alternative cities to Tampa. ?he Republican Party is no place for outlaws,? added former Nevada Gov. Bob List.

The rhetoric amounts to sticks and stones. The national party has limited control over state primaries; states pick their own dates.

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.