Florida moves up presidential primary
1/12/2012, 11:29 a.m.
RNC to penalize state for change Florida voters may face a greater challenge having their voices heard next year when the 2012 presidential primary takes place. That's because last week State legislators moved up Floridas primary to Jan. 31st. According to some state Republicans the decision was made in order to get Florida voters more involved in the primary process. But it could come with a cost the winner of the State primarily will inevitably lose over half of their delegates. This is about getting the most Floridians involved at the earliest possible time, said state Sen. John Thrasher, R-St. Augustine, a member of a special committee charged with setting the date. The move is not sitting well with many of the states Democrats. I have listened closely to the members of this committee but I have also heard the views of people from across the state, most of whom identified themselves as Republicans, said Cynthia Stafford, state representative, District 109. I share the sentiment of the majority of these Floridians who recognized that the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and the Republican National Committee (RNC) agreed to a process, agreed to rules and agreed to a presidential primary date calendar. I believe that Florida should respect the integrity of the process and comply with the rules that both political parties agreed to. RNC penalty Floridas decision to move the primary could spell trouble for the candidate who wins the state. In trying to avert a chaotic and overly-compressed schedule, the RNC barred all states except Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina from setting primaries or caucuses before March 6. Those that go against the rules will lose half their delegates in Floridas case, 48 of its total 99. I share similar feelings as Representative Stafford, said Dwight Bullard, 34, state representative, District 118. I agree that the date to change the presidential primary will eventually lead to us being penalized. Florida is trying to move the primary up earlier to be one of the key primaries in the same position as Iowa and New Hampshire. Whoever wins in Florida won't get the total number of electoral votes that he deserves. One of the underpinnings is that candidates like Herman Cain, who won the most recent poll in Florida, could come out with 50 percent less electoral votes. That makes it tough to win the candidate's seat. " Other states have chosen to follow the RNCs rules so as to avoid being penalized. California and New York have moved their primaries back. California, with 172 delegates, will hold its primary in June rather than February, while New York, with 95 delegates, moves to late April. The changes mean there will be 10 times fewer delegates committed by the end of February 2012 than there were in 2008 when 1,400 delegates were bound to candidates by that time. Florida's primary election date change moves it to inclusion with other states that kick off the primary voting process including: Iowa, who historically goes first, followed by New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada. By Randy Gricergrice@miamitimesonline.com