Once Governor Crist signs the election reform bill, Florida will officially be the First in the South primary, moving to the same day as the South Carolina Democratic Primary and the Tuesday before the South Carolina Republican primary (February 2nd in 2008).
The state is now one week after the New Hampshire primary and one week ahead of California, New York, and a boatload of other states on Super Duper Tuesday.
Both the Republican and Democratic National Committees opposed the move, and will levy penalties against any candidate who campaigns in Florida. The penalty is stiffer for the Democrats, who will officialy receive no delegates at the convention if they
One experenced political consultant described the move:
” I think anything that puts Florida at the forefront of deciding who the nominees are is important and I support moving Florida ahead. We deserve more say the Iowa, New Hampshire, or South Carolina. We are (almost) the third largest state. Florida has been essential in the last two elections.”
And it will make this election prohibitively expensive. For a candidate to be realistically competitive in Florida, you’re looking at $15-25 million, and at least $100-$125 million nationally. With the bulk of that money being spent between Labor Day and MLK Day.
There are still unanswered questions: Will the South Carolina parties, who run the presidential preference primary, move their dates? Will that cause Iowa and/or New Hampshire to move theirs? Will the Florida Democrats and or Republicans hold party caucuses to mitigate any penalties from the national committees?