Round-up of stories about Florida and the 2012 presidential campaign (8/4)

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Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus is again warning Florida Republicans that they will be punished if they fail to move their 2012 presidential primary to a later date, in compliance with national party rules.
“I can appreciate and respect the viewpoints of people here in Florida that want to move their calendar date,” Priebus said Wednesday during a press conference promoting next year’s Republican National Convention in Tampa. “But it doesn’t change my responsibility to enforce the rules, which is you lose half your delegates [to the convention]. That’s a pretty rough rule.”
Reince Priebus, chairman of the Republican National Committee, said in Tampa today that he likes Florida and loves Tampa as the site of next year’s party convention, but if Florida holds its presidential primary early, it will still lose half of its delegate votes at the convention.
The RNC is meeting this week in Tampa, the site of its Aug. 27, 2012 presidential nominating convention.
National Committeeman from Florida , Paul Senft of Haines City, had said earlier now would be a time for committee members from of all the states to check out the city and make arrangements for their delegates for next year.
The vast majority of Floridians couldn’t pick Tim Pawlenty out of a lineup. He barely registers in the polls. And there’s a decent chance he’ll have to quit the presidential race soon if he continues to show little momentum in Iowa.
And yet something curious is happening in Florida: Influential Republican leaders continue to line up behind the former Minnesota governor, even with little evidence he’s a viable contender.
Most Palm Beach County cities and towns may have to shift their election dates to coincide with a potential shift in Florida’s 2012 presidential primary, Supervisor of Elections Susan Bucher is warning.
As many as 35 of the county’s 38 cities and towns are tentatively set to hold their elections on Tuesday, March 13 — less than two weeks after Republican leaders have proposed scheduling the primary.
With such a short window between elections, Bucher said, there simply wouldn’t be time for her office to re-program and re-test all of its voting equipment before city residents head to the polls.
RNC Chairman Reince Priebus, in Tampa for the RNC’s summer meeting, reiterated again today that any state that violates the party’s sanctioned primary will be penalized. And, he expects, not semi-penalized as happened in 2008 when Florida violated the schedule, had half it’s 114 convention delgates stripped away, but those delegates were still allowed on the convention floor as “honored guests.”
Florida voters won’t get a chance to weigh in on the GOP nomination until weeks after Iowa and New Hampshire, but Tim Pawlenty’s already treating the Sunshine State as prime presidential campaign territory.
It didn’t take long for Florida’s plans for a premier presidential primary spot to hit a snag.
The snag: Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer wants to move her state’s primary up to Jan. 31.
During a conference call with reporters on Wednesday, Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus boasted that the GOP is producing some of the country’s most promising Latino elected officials. “We’ve got Marco Rubio there in Florida, who’s an absolute star,” Priebus said, referring to Florida’s junior U.S. Senator, a youthful, socially conservative Cuban-American. Priebus also pointed to two newly elected Republican governors: Susana Martinez, of New Mexico, and Brian Sandoval, of Nevada. “They are the rising stars, and they’re with us and they’re going to help us communicate across America,” he said.
Priebus’ comments, which came during a call centered on Florida’s role in the 2012 presidential race, are noteworthy as both parties grapple with how to attract Latinos, who account for 9% of the national electorate. Latinos are expected to play a crucial role in the next election, especially in battleground states such as New Mexico, where they make up 35% of the electorate, and Florida, where they represent about 18% of voters. Barack Obama captured nearly two-thirds of Latino votes in the 2008 presidential election. But unlike blacks, who have proved loyal to President Obama and Democrats despite enduring disproportionate economic hardship in recent years, Hispanics are not tethered to one political party.
The 2012 presidential election is still more than a year away, but the campaigning has begun and both parties say they’ll aggressively be going after the Hispanic vote, particularly in Florida.
On Wednesday the Republican National Committee released an English-language television ad along with a Spanish-language radio spot.
The ad aimed at the Hispanic community is just the latest by both parties. Last week, the Democratic National Committee released a Spanish-language ad for television.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including,,, 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.