Florida 2008: Meaningful or not?


As expected, the state of Florida has moved its primary ahead of most of the pack, scheduling events for both Democrats and Republicans on 1/29/08. That would put it a week ahead of the rapidly growing Super Duper Tuesday mega-event on 2/5/08.

An early Florida campaign is seen as a costly proposition for candidates, with its wide geography and plethora of separate and distinct media markets. However, the parties seem to see this as butting in line, and have sanctions in place which could prove costly to the state's party organizations. The stronger sanctions are on the Democratic side. Florida could be penalized by losing half of its convention seats and all of its super-delegates (generally members of Congress). And any candidate who actually campaigns there could lose all delegates won.
The Republican side also has a 50% delegate loss sanction in place. According to cbs4.com, a compromise may be negotiated under which an alternate delegate selection process is adopted and occurs no earlier than 2/5/08, with the 1/29/08 vote treated as a straw poll.

TVBR observation: In short, at the moment this situation is a mess. If the national parties hold their ground, Florida's attempt to increase its relevance may actually have the opposite effect. And if votes for a candidate are not counted as punishment for campaigning in a non-sanctioned event, they'd be crazy to spend any money in the state. Stay tuned.