Thursday, July 21, 2011

Members May Not Be Named to Florida Presidential Preference Primary Date Selection Committee Until Late Summer/Early Fall

In a "Whatever happened to that presidential primary committee?" post, Kathleen Haughney of the Orlando Sentinel follows up with Florida Speaker of the House Dean Cannon's spokesperson, Katie Betta. Obviously, not much has been going on or news would have broken by now -- naming the committee members, setting a date, etc. -- on the Florida primary date front. But what Betta had to say about the time frame for the decision-making on the membership alone is fairly telling.

“We are currently monitoring the decisions made by other states with regard to their dates,” said Cannon spokeswoman Katie Betta. “Ultimately, Speaker Cannon supports choosing a date that will allow Florida to remain a relevant player in the process. For him, that requires selecting a date that is both early and unique to Florida. We will have a better picture of what that date might be as other states begin to make their decisions.”
No, that is not entirely newsworthy either. The reason the Florida legislature created the committee in the first place was to maximize the Sunshine state's powers-that-be the ability to set an advantageous (EARLY!) date. No, what was important was something else that came out of the discussion:

A spokeswoman for House Speaker Dean Cannon said the speaker would likely not name anyone to the committee until late summer or early fall.
If this is true, that the members of the committee will not be named until the late summer or early fall, then the committee is going to have to act pretty quickly. At the very latest, early fall is going to the last third of September; only a matter of days before the October 1 deadline by which the Presidential Preference Primary Date Selection Committee to set a date. To me that says that the committee phase is more a formality than anything else -- that a decision has already been mostly made and can be made seemingly on the fly prior to October 1. FHQ has certainly been apt to play both sides of this Florida story -- to game the entire world of possibilities in terms of the overall primary calendar. But in my eyes, this lends at least some credence -- that as well as some recent conversations I've had -- to the idea that Florida will indeed try and squeeze a primary into the oft-talked about March 1-3 window. I still say that Arizona and Michigan and maybe even Missouri will have something to say about that.

But then again, that's why Florida is waiting it out until those other states decide. October 1 will likely be late enough for them to achieve that. Well, except for Georgia.

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