Round-up of stories about Florida and the 2012 presidential race

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“There are nights I don’t sleep,” are the opening words of a Spanish-language ad campaign launched this week by American Crossroads.
According to the Center for Responsive Politics, Karl Rove, the former top strategist for President George W. Bush, and former Republican National Committee Chairman Ed Gillespie formed the Super PAC American Crossroads. The five members of American Crossroads‘ leadership staff have all worked for the Republican National Committee and almost all worked for President George W. Bush.
The campaign ad — which features a young Hispanic woman getting out of bed — continues, “I’m worried, for our jobs, our home, the high price of everything. I look at my kids and I worry about their future. I supported President Obama because he expressed himself so well, but since then things have gotten worse.”
The presidential season is just underway and we’re already starting to hear a lot about the Latino vote. For good reason: Latinos were decisive in both of George W. Bush’s wins and pushed Barack Obama over the top in 2012. We all know that Florida — which went for President Obama in 2008 — has a lot of Latino voters, but it was news three years ago that states like Virginia, Colorado, and Pennsylvania swung blue when Latinos turned out to vote in record numbers and voted Democratic. The 2012 census put an exclamation point on the Latino vote by showing that we’re not just in New York, Texas, and California: Georgia, Utah, North Carolina, and South Carolina are all gaining congressional seats because of the growth of the Latino population there. In fact, remember how John Edwards always talked about growing up in a mill town in South Carolina? Well, that traditional old town is now 50% Latino.
Nationally and in Florida, Perry is expected to instantly compete with GOP frontrunner Mitt Romney.
“We already have a pretty fluid race and his coming aboard will make it even more so I think he’ll break into the top tier,” said American Conservative Union Chairman Al Cardenas, a former head of the Florida GOP.
“Florida is completely wide open I think Perry has a lot of appeal here,” said veteran Florida Republican strategist Sally Bradshaw, who is not signing up with any candidate during the primary season.
His state may be the flash point of a major struggle over the 2012 primary calendar, but you wouldn’t know it from the way Florida Gov. Rick Scott talks about it. POLITICO’s Molly Ball reports from Charleston:
POLITICO caught up with Florida Gov. Rick Scott in Charleston, S.C., where he was addressing the RedState Gathering of conservative bloggers in a speech that was closed to the press.
Asked about Florida’s place in the primary calendar, he said the state would hold its contest on a date “as early as possible so that we don’t lose any delegates. And separate – we’ll have our own day separate from all the other states.”

Could that really be possible without losing convention delegates, a penalty the RNC has insisted it will enforce if the state goes before Super Tuesday?

Scott patted this reporter on the shoulder and said, “I’m sure. It’s Florida.”
Just how big of a deal is it that the Republican National Convention is coming to Tampa next summer?

Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus tried to put it in perspective while speaking to local reporters on a swing through the area this month.

“This is a Super Bowl times four. This is probably the biggest event that the Tampa Bay community has ever put on thus far,” Priebus said. The line was something of an exclamation point to Priebus’ visit, becoming the focus of a local TV story that aired on Fox and a dominant quote in news coverage offered by CNN, the Associated Press and the St. Petersburg Times.

But is it true?

In Ames, Iowa for the GOP straw poll, Buzz caught up with a Floridian – Mike Huckabee – after he played bass as Herman Cain belted out a gospel tune.
“Early is good, but nobody should usurp either Iowa or New Hampshire – not even Florida,” dismissing people who minize the significance of Iowa’s caucuses.
Rick Perry this afternoon in South Carolina officially joined the race for the GOP presidential nomination. And you could soon hear more about him in Florida. A super PAC linked to his associates has been set up and will likely finance ads in the state.

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.