Senate prez Haridopolos on GOP primary: ‘Feels good to be right’by Dara Kam | January 24th, 2012
With all eyes on Florida in the GOP presidential race, Senate President Mike Haridopolos might have been justified saying “I told you so” about the Sunshine State’s early Republican primary next week.
The legislature moved Florida’s primary date up from its originally scheduled date to Jan. 31 over the objections of state and national GOP leaders. Haridopolos and others wanted to elevate the state’s role in determining the eventual nominee.
With Newt Gingrich surging in the polls after unexpectedly trouncing Mitt Romney in South Carolina, Florida could be “the lynchpin to one person winning” the race, Haridopolos, R-Merritt Island, said.
“Every once in a while it feels good to be right,” Haridopolos, a Romney backer, said this morning. “It was a risk, don’t get me wrong. But we thought it was a good risk. Clearly the eyes of the nation if not the eyes of the world are on this…I think it’s a good thing.”
And national coverage of the candidates stumping around sunny, mild-climed Florida may help solve some of the state’s budget problems as well, Haridopolos said.d
“This is like free advertising for our state and it wasn’t Visit Florida that had to pay the tab,” Haridopolos said.
Watching candidates “in their shirt sleeves” in sunny Florida may prompt Northerners to consider relocating their businesses to or visiting Florida, Haridopolos, a former New Yorker, said.
“So I think it’s been a jackpot,” Haridopolos said. “And I think we’re in the place where we deserve to be.”
Florida is the bellweather state in the general election and deserves to be so in the primaries, Haridopolos said, after the lesser-known candidates have been weeded out in Iowa and New Hampshire.
I love these kind of competitions – except when I’m in races. I like the ones where no one runs against me. It’s a lot more successful,” the former U.S. Senate candidate joked. “But to be serious. I think it’s good. I think this will elevate our candidate.”