Florida’s Presidential Preference Primary: January 29th

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?

About Jim Johnson

Editor and publisher of The State of Sunshine.
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2 Responses to Florida’s Presidential Preference Primary: January 29th

  1. Robert says:

    I posted this originally back in January:

    For some time now, we’ve heard from party officials and others in a number of states, including Florida, that they feel ignored and that their voters have little real voice in who their party’s presidential nominee will be because their preference primary is scheduled so late in the season. There have been efforts by some states to move their primary earlier, but this trend toward “frontloading” is being seen with disdain especially at the national Democratic Party level, with officials going so far as to threaten the seating of the delegation of any state which does so.

    So, how would you resolve this issue in a way that gives states a more even hand that they have now, while keeping the primary process relevant? I believe a one-day national primary is going too far, so…

    I would have a series of regional primaries based on geography, scheduled over a period between mid-January and mid-May. The primaries would be scheduled three weeks apart from each other, and each primary would be held in between five to eight neighbouring states. In addition to making it easier for candidates to schedule events within the primary region and travel, this idea would also allow them to focus on issues of specific importance to voters in the area.

    The primary system would be based on a rotating schedule, in which the region that holds the earliest primary one election cycle would host the latest the next time around. That way, no state or region would hold a monopoly on who’s first.

    Needless to say, an idea like this may never get off the ground. It would take a great deal of work from many people; officials from both major politicial parties, state elections officials, among others. But I believe it’s an idea that should be considered.

    Here would be my example for 2008:

    January 15: Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York

    February 5: Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Deleware, District of Columbia, Virginia, Maryland, West Virginia, Kentucky

    February 26: North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Tennessee, Mississippi

    March 18: Ohio, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri

    April 8: Arkansas, Louisiana, Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, Wyoming

    April 29: North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana, Washington, Oregon, Alaska

    May 20: New Mexico, Arizona, California, Nevada, Hawaii

    So…what do you think?

  2. Samantha S. says:

    I think this sounds reasonable, just, fair, and sensible….

    In other words, our politicians would NEVER support it. People are far to greedy to actually consent to a rotating priority in primaries; they want their state to be #1 always! If the political parties, states, and national government could play together well enough to enact such an idea, It would solve many of our more pressing environmental, social, and economic problems. If only such a Eutopia existed!

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