Alexander Burns: In order to hold a January primary, they defied Democratic and Republican party rules, invited penalties against their delegates at next summer’s convention and infuriated party leaders in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina. Now, Florida party leaders say they have every intention of making sure their unofficial status as the first mega-state primary becomes a permanent feature of presidential politics – not a one-off decision to crash the 2012 calendar, but an irreversible blow to the traditional early-state monopoly. They’ve even developed, in a matter of months, the sense of early-state exceptionalism that defines Iowa and New Hampshire. Ask virtually any Florida Republican why the state deserves special status and you’ll get the same answer: it’s huge, heterogeneous, soon to be the third-largest state in the country and it’s critical to the general election.
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.