Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Florida Adds to Campaign Imbroglio

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Florida Adds to Campaign Imbroglio

Article excerpt

Byline: Mark Woods

Our presidential campaigns are a mess. And once again, the Hanging Chad State is responsible for adding to that mess.

It was absurd enough that we were among the states holding presidential primaries in February, eight months before the general election. But on Monday, Gov. Charlie Crist signed a bill moving our primary ahead of all but four other states and into new territory for us.

January.

Now South Carolina Republicans, who tentatively have their primary set for Feb. 2, are contemplating a move into January. And several other states also are considering changes.

Not that the folks in New Hampshire will ever let anyone jump ahead of them without a fight. They have a state law mandating that they go first.

I figure that at this rate of leap-frogging, we'll be holding the 2012 primaries on Jan. 20 - of 2009.

That's the day we'll inaugurate our next president and kick off the next campaign.

This is what we've done to American politics. We've created perpetual campaigns. And although it isn't just Florida - California moved its primary from June to February - our politicians, both Republicans and Democrats, upped the ante.

The theory is that this will make Florida a bigger player. And I suppose it will. Even if the national parties go through with threats to withhold delegates, the candidates will come. On the same day Crist signed the bill, Hillary Rodham Clinton was in Miami and Rudy Giuliani was in Orlando.

"You're going to have lots of presidential candidates here," The Associated Press quoted Giuliani saying at a luncheon. "It's going to do wonders for your economy, because we're going to spend millions and millions of dollars on television."

Great. It's enough to make you want to start stockpiling DVDs. …

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