The Florida Legislature meets tomorrow to elect its new leaders: Senate President Ken Pruitt and House Speaker Marco Rubio. Both are good men and will be excellent leaders.
This post, however, is about an idea broached by Speaker Rubio: moving Florida’s primary from March to early February. Today’s Orlando Sentinel has a good article on this proposal.
Incoming state House Speaker Marco Rubio, R-Miami, this week is expected to unveil a plan to move Florida’s March presidential primary closer to the first-in-the-nation New Hampshire primary.
Rubio and others have decried Florida’s later primary date, saying it excludes the mega-state from playing a significant role in choosing the Democratic and Republican nominees.
“Florida voters deserve a greater role in choosing our nation’s leaders,” Rubio said.
Florida’s last presidential primary occurred in March 2004, six weeks after New Hampshire’s. It also came after 28 states and the District of Columbia held caucuses or primaries and the nominations of President Bush and Democrat John Kerry were virtually certain.
This is not a good idea… it is a GREAT idea.
Florida’s primary was part of the original “Super Tuesday” primaries in 1988. The idea came from southern Democrats hoping to nominate a moderate candidate — instead of a northern liberal. (The irony was that Dukakis eventually won the nomination anyway.)
In 2004, however, many states moved their primaries earlier — creating a “mini-Tuesday“. It worked against Florida, because the Democatic nomination was all but sewn up for Kerry by the time the primary was conducted.
I hope the Legislature and Governor Crist will pass this legislation in the upcoming Legislative Session. Florida will be in the national spotlight for a good reason this time. The State of Sunshine will monitor this issue.
Cross Posted at Oh Eight Watch.