UPDATE: Senate prez says ‘nope’ to moving primaries backby Dara Kam | February 10th, 2011
UPDATE: Gov. Rick Scott and the Senate prez disagree on whether Florida should move back the presidential primary from January to March.
Here’s what Scott said on the issue today:
“My belief is I don’t want to lose any of the delegates, so I want to have it as early as we can. But I don’t want to lose any of the delegates,” Scott told reporters. That sort of sounds like he doesn’t want to anger national GOP leaders who will punish the state by slashing its number of delegates if the primaries aren’t later.
Senate President Mike Haridopolos says he’s “comfortable with where we’re at right now” regarding Florida’s early primaries that caused partisan turmoil three years ago.
“I didn’t see it as chaos. I thought it was great. I thought that Florida was a player,” said the Merritt Island Republican who’s seeking a spot on the national stage in the U.S. Senate. “Florida influenced in a huge way not just who won the presidency but who the nominee was. I think that was a good thing.”
Sen. Arthenia Joyner, a Democrat from Tampa, filed a bill this week that would push back Florida’s presidential primary until March after Florida Democratic Party Chairman Rod Smith asked his GOP counterpart Dave Bitner to support the move.
Four years ago, Republican lawmakers moved it up to January in an effort to elevate the state’s impact on determining the party nominees. That drew the wrath of party officials from both parties and created confusion for months while party bosses threatened to strip the state of its delegates for breaking party rules about which states get to hold their elections first. Ultimately, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton refused to campaign in the Sunshine State because of the party sanctions.
Haridopolos said he’s not worried that the state could be stripped of its delegates once again if Florida’s primary doesn’t get moved back to March.
“That’s a risk to be taken. Everyone recognizes that Florida’s the most important state for the presidency. We just picked up an additional two electoral college votes, by the way. I think we’re the most important state because whoever wins Florida is probably going to win.”
The primary date is way down on Haridopolos’ priorities, he said.
“In comparison to the budget problems, the drug issue, this is maybe 409 millionth on my list,” he said.