"Governor [Rick] Scott, [state Senate] President [Mike] Haridopolos, [House] Speaker [Dean] Cannon and I have expressed a willingness to work with the RNC to find a primary date that both respects the calendar while preserving Florida's role in the process. We all agree that moving the primary into late February, making Florida fifth on the calendar, would sufficiently meet both criteria. I remain optimistic and committed to continuing to work with the Legislature and the RNC to resolve this issue."
Bitner's statement is a serious backtrack from the state party's earlier stance. After South Carolina GOP chairman Karen Floyd and Iowa chairman Matt Strawn both urged RNC members to establish a commission to rethink the party's decision to hold the 2012 convention in Tampa, Cannon taunted the other states. "I look forward to meeting Chairman Floyd and Chairman Strawn in Tampa next summer," Cannon told Hotline On Call.
Still, the Florida party has little control over the process. Any change in the primary date must go through Haridopolos, who is also running for U.S. Senate, and Cannon, both of whom control their respective chambers.
Haridopolos echoed Bitner's statement, but he doesn't seem interested in backing down. ""I have said all along that Florida does not want to jump the traditional early states of New Hampshire, Iowa, South Carolina or Nevada. We simply want to go fifth," he said.