Despite the farcical sideshow of Donald Trump's recent antics, the 2012 presidential election is actually a serious and important issue. And for the second consecutive presidential election cycle, Florida's importance is stirring some serious controversy.
Just like in 2008, the state's primary is slated for January 31, 2012, in direct violation of the rules set by the Democratic and Republican National Committees. State lawmakers would have to vote to change the date.
Only 23 days remain in the state legislative session, however, and with a plate full of pill mill bills and anti-abortion legislation, our tireless legislators might not get around to the pesky primary date.
So yesterday, House Speaker Dean Cannon announced a proposal to create a ten-member committee that would set a primary date and have until October 1 to do so.
He said it gives Republican leaders a "measure of flexibility" in solving one of the biggest problems in the 2012 calendar, according to Politico.
GOP leaders from early-voting states have lashed out at Florida and urged the RNC to pull its convention out of Tampa. The DNC stripped Florida of its delegates as punishment for the 2008 primary.
According to the DNC and RNC calendar, Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, and South Carolina are supposed to hold primaries and caucuses between February 1 and March 5. No other states can hold their contests before then. Though Cannon and other legislative leaders have said that they wouldn't mind going after the early-voting states, the House speaker showed no fear of breaking the rules. His proposed committee would still have the option of selecting a January date.
Furthermore, Cannon, Gov. Rick Scott, and Senate President Mike Haridopolos, all Republicans, would select the committee members.
But not all Republicans favor an early date. RNC co-chair Sharon Day says that Florida's size and demographics make the Sunshine State a major player in any election cycle. Day told the Palm Beach Post, "There's just as good a chance that we could play an important role going later than earlier."
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