Florida is Boardwalk…

And they know it.

Florida is preparing today to announce that they are moving their primary to January 31.  While this comes as no surprise, it still angers several other states who may now have to push their primaries up as well to get their early start.  I don’t blame them, Florida is kind of acting like it’s the big man on campus.

As a Floridian myself, I figured I would bring some local perspective to the issue.  Florida is a state that has called the election in all but one of the last 10 elections.  Florida went blue in 2008, red in 2004, narrowly red in 2000, and blue in 1996.  Each time, Florida helped pick the winner.

In 2008, Florida played a huge role as a game changer for the Romney campaign.  Romney went into the Florida primary expecting a slim win.  Instead he was handed a slim loss.  John McCain went on to be our candidate, and lose.  Despite the horrible first three years Obama has experienced, Florida will likely be a deciding factor again in this general election.

Florida could be a huge game changer in this election, if the Florida straw poll is any indication.  As far as the media is concerned, this is a two man race between the faltering Rick Perry and the polished fiscal conservative Mitt Romney.  But influential Florida Republicans said no.  Let’s take another look at Herman Cain.  Shortly afterward, a Rasmussen poll added weight to the Florida game changer.  Herman Cain went from a future has-been back to contender status in one afternoon.

Let’s face it.  We know Iowa will probably go to Rick Perry and New Hampshire will go to Mitt Romney.  I think South Carolina is a toss up right now.  Florida is a clear toss up.  By moving up, Florida will get the candidates to flood the state, court the voters, and could be an early change in the momentum of the race.

Of course, other early states like Iowa and South Carolina will no doubt move up their primaries.  But Florida will still get that early say and make sure we have a voice before it truly is just a two man race.  Considering the role Florida plays in the general election, maybe other states should just get used to our bully stance.  Then again, we were the deciding factor in tossing John McCain into the ring with Barack Obama.  So maybe not.

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