Was it just three years ago that Florida's January 29,2008 Presidential Primary election was boycotted by Hlilary Clinton and Barack Obama, with the DNC stripping Florida of its delegates until long after the nomination officially went to the U.S. Senator from Illinois?
Yeah, of course it was. Those were some bitter days between friends and even family members in the Democratic Party, both in Florida and across the country.
But while the Democrats got penalized by the national party for moving its primary date up against the wishes of the DNC and the RNC, many analysts say John McCain's victory over Mitt Romney was the deciding election in catapulting the Arizona Senator to the nomination. It also effectively knocked out Rudy Giuliani's "Florida strategy," an insane theory in which he opted to bypass both Iowa and New Hampshire and put all his chips on former New Yorkers living in South Florida giving him the momentum by taking the Sunshine State. It didn't exactly work out.
Three years later, and Florida Republicans, who at this point don't have a clue who their presidential candidate will be, again want to jump the gun and be influential by voting in January.
Both the DNC and RNC have adopted rules this year allowing Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada again to have the first primaries/caucuses in 2012. And 2 Florida Democrats, including Tampa state Senator Arthenia Joyner , have filed bills this week to move Floridas primaries back.
But Florida Republicans are daring to be different once again, and why not? Since they didn't receive nearly the rebuke that their Democratic brethren imposed on the state?
Senate President Mike Haridopolos wants to keep the primary in early January, saying of what happened in 2008, I didnt see it as chaos. I thought it was great. I thought that Florida was a player, he said. Florida influenced in a huge way not just who won the presidency but who the nominee was. I think that was a good thing.
Whether Florida votes in January or March, the impact may not be as powerful as in '08. That's because the GOP now will use proportional allocation of the delegatesdistributing them among the candidates based on their vote totalsinstead of the winner-take-all allocation theyve used in the past. That's what Democrats have always traditionally always done in Florida.
Democratic Party of Florida party chair Rod Smith wants the state to move the primary date to March, saying:
With the Republican National Committee and the Democratic National Committee adopting the same timing rules for the first time ever, setting the example of bi-partisan cooperation, it is our sincere hope that the Republican Legislature will pass the legislation from Sen. Joyner and Rep. Kiar that will ensure full representation of our state at both the Democratic and Republican national conventions.
Let's face it though - there isn't going to be any Democratic presidential primary, at least not a competitive one (sorry Dick Morris, Matt Drudge and others who have fantasized that Hillary Clinton will challenge Obama). But Democrats will still want to go their big four day party at the Democratic Convention in Charlotte, so that's an incentive not to alienate Tim Kaine and the rest of the DNC.
New RNC Chair Reince Priebus and Governor Rick Scott also wants the state to vote in March, not January. Stay tuned to see how this mini-drama plays out.