Wednesday, February 16, 2011

"Rubio favors early presidential primary for Florida in 2012"

No, Rubio isn't a decision maker on the matter of the timing of Florida's 2012 presidential primary, but this is worth filing away. That's another Republican voice -- and a national one at that -- who is for the Sunshine state's primary being earlier than is allowed by national party rules.

by George Bennett, Palm Beach Post (Post on Politics Blog)
WASHINGTON — Florida should keep its early presidential primary date in 2012 and the Republican National Committee would be wise to accommodate the important swing state, Republican U.S. Sen Marco Rubio says.

Both parties have agreed that only four states — Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina — should have primaries before March 1. When Rubio was state House Speaker, the legislature moved Florida’s 2008 primary to January to give the state more influence. The 2012 primary will be in January as well unless the legislature changes the date.

Says Rubio: “I think if the Republican Party wants to pay for the elections in Florida, they can have them any day they want. But as long as the voters of Florida are going to pay for this election, it should be on the most meaningful day possible. An election in late January costs the same as an election in April, but it’s a lot more meaningful.”

Rubio added: “I’m OK with Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina — those are established states and I don’t think Florida desires to get ahead of any of them. But after that, why should Florida be behind anyone else? And as a Republican, I’ll tell you this flat out, no Republican can win the presidency of the United States without winning the state of Florida. We cannot win the presidency without winning Florida as a Republican, and so it behooves us to make sure that whoever our nominee is is someone that is palatable in Florida and does well in Florida. And the best way to do that is by winning the primary.”

Asked about the possibility the RNC would strip some or all of Florida’s delegates to punish the state for holding its primary too early, Rubio said, “If the RNC thinks the way to win Florida — which they cannot win the presidency without — is to sanction the most important swing state in the country, then good luck to them.”

Rubio said he plans to be neutral in the 2012 presidential primary and in the 2012 Republican primary for the U.S. Senate seat of Democrat Bill Nelson.

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