Florida GOP Features Barbour. And Super Tuesday Heats Up

Bookmark and Share Florida is a critical state in both the Republican nomination process and the presidential election process. Having one of the four largest electoral votes in the nation, this makes Florida one of the two “must haves” in the Super Tuesday primaries of the South. So what happens politically in Florida, echoes nationally. So the recent decision by the Florida’s state Republican Party to have Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour deliver the Keynote address at their annual dinner in September is having a ripple effect in Republican circles.

Now that Florida’s Republican Governor became an Independent and is running for the U.S. Senate, the slot that would have normally been reserved for the state’s top elected Republican, came open and it would seem that Haley Barbour had did not hesitate filling it.

The move is a sign that Barbour is carefully and methodically lining up support for a run for President.

Since Charlie Crist left the Party and is now campaigning against the GOP’s nominee for U.S. Senate, Marco Rubio, it would be natural for organizers of the annual dinner to have selected Marco Rubio as their Keynote Speaker. In fact it would have been a smart move. Yet the Florida GOP has Barbour speaking instead.

Why?

Well as Chairman of the Republican Governor’s Association, when Charlie Crist switched parties, Barbour was in close communication with state Party leaders and he has remained in touch with them. So much so that he twisted a few arms to get this much coveted speaking engaging before Florida’s Republican elite.

The move was a smart one by Barbour. Although the numbers change based on the number of Republicans officials elected to office and population, Florida sends approximately 60 delegates to the Republican National Convention.That’s just a mere drop in the bucket when you compare it to the approximately 1, 191 needed to secure the presidential nomination. But of the 822 delegates that come out of the South, that is substantial in early counts. But what’s more is the timing of Florida’s primary. It normally takes place after South Carolina but before the bulk of the South votes for the nominees on Super Tuesday.

This makes the timing of Florida’s primary even more important than its delegate count. If a candidate does poorly in South Carolina, a comeback in the big Florida primary could provide a candidate with the type of momentum that they could use to sweep the South in the weeks to follow.

Barbour knows this. That is why he swooped into to that slot as keynote speaker. To get this “invitation”, he pulled quite a few strings with Republican state Party officials and apparently Florida Republican officials like what they see in Barbour because they jumped at the chance to have their strings pulled by him.

People don’t want to be associated with losers as much as they want to be associated with winners. If Barbour was a loser, the Florida GOP would not have just sent upplumes of white smoke that signal a decision like they do at Vatican upon the election of a Pope. If Barbour was not about to seal the deal with Party leaders, the Florida GOP would not have signaled to contenders like Romney, Pawlenty, Palin, Paul, Santorum, Gingrich and others, that a favorite son of the South is about to be tapped for bigger and better things.

Of course this has set contenders like Romney and Pawlenty, off on a frenzied attempt to contact current and potential Florida supporters to make sure that that they can keep the door open for their chance to win over the Party power hitters before Barbour is able to close the door on them and lock up Florida before the race even begins.

No matter what though, right now Haley Barbour isconstructing the foundation for his candidacy and creating the playing field on which all other contenders are being forced to play catch-up with Barbour on.

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