Florida gets ready to rumble as the biggest early primary in the race.
Gov. Charlie Crist signed a bill Monday moving Florida’s 2008 presidential primary up to Jan. 29, leapfrogging several other states in a change that could dramatically alter the Republican and Democratic presidential nominating campaigns.
The move will put Florida’s primary behind only the Iowa and Nevada caucuses and the New Hampshire primary and on the same day as South Carolina’s Democratic primary.
Florida’s early election could have huge implications in the Feb. 5 primaries scheduled in a dozen other states, including New York and California.
A win in Florida is such a big prize because the state is seen as a microcosm of the nation with its diverse population, so it shows how a candidate might do in other states. Florida’s electoral votes decided the disputed 2000 presidential election.
“The candidates who finish first in Florida would presumably be the strongest candidates the party could put up in the November election,” said Merle Black, a politics professor at Emory University. “And in building momentum for a campaign, the candidates that do well in Florida would get intense media coverage leading into the next week’s events in early February.”
It’s a little ironic; the Florida primary used to be weeks after Super Tuesday and it never mattered in determining the candidates. This time we’re going to be one of the first, and one of the strongest.
But I suspect an ulterior motive: January is the middle of tourist season when all the hotels are charging their highest rates — Ka-ching! — and besides, given the choice — LeMars, Iowa or Miami Beach — who doesn’t want to come down here and hang out with all the hotties on South Beach?
Cross-posted from Bark Bark Woof Woof.