Friday, September 30, 2011

Florida Presidential Primary will be Jan. 31, 2012

It's official:
State leaders on Friday set Florida's 2012 presidential primary for Jan. 31, bucking national party rules and ensuring that several other states will leapfrog Florida and set earlier elections.

The move was intended to ensure that America's biggest battleground state has a major voice in picking the Republican nominee, much as it did in 2008, when Florida's late January primary effectively clinched the nomination for John McCain.

"It is more important for states such as Florida not to be on the back end, but to be on the front end of these primaries," said former state Sen. Al Lawson of Tallahassee, a member of the primary committee, who initially called for Florida to set its primary for Jan. 3.

"This is about getting the most Floridians involved at the earliest possible time," said state Sen. John Thrasher, R-St. Augustine, another committee member. "Florida has more voters than all of those states combined and has an incredible amount of diversity. It is a reflection of the national interest and Florida ought to be an early state."

South Carolina's GOP chair, Chad Connelly, had harsh words for the Florida decision.

"Today's decision by Florida is hugely disappointing and could have been avoided," he said. "Rogue states have once again dictated the presidential nominating calendar. I call on my fellow RNC members and all Republicans to strongly condemn Florida's decision to hold their primary on Jan. 31.
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