RPOF Backs Off From Primary Spat
The Republican Party of Florida wants no part in a dispute that could cost the state influence in the GOP nominating contest, the state party chairman said late Thursday, putting the party at odds with its leaders in the state legislature.
In a statement, RPOF chairman Dave Bitner said he hoped to work with the Republican National Committee to find an appropriate date for Florida's primary just hours after the chairmen of the South Carolina and Iowa parties threatened to strip Florida of the convention because of its noncompliance.
(See background on South Carolina, Iowa and their call for a new convention location here)
"As chairman of the Republican Party of Florida, my primary concern is what is in the best interest of Florida and Florida Republicans. I commend our Legislature for standing up for Florida voters, by ensuring we have an early voice in the presidential primary process," Bitner said in the statement. "There are many reasons why Florida should have an early and significant role in selecting the Republican presidential nominee, yet I understand the Republican National Committee is looking to maintain an orderly primary calendar."
At the moment, Florida's presidential primary is scheduled to take place in late January, before February, when Iowa's caucuses and New Hampshire's primary are scheduled. South Carolina, the traditional first primary contest in the South, is also fiercely protective of its place in the Republican nominating process, while Nevada is also allowed to hold caucuses in February, according to party rules.
But, the RPOF insisted, the party doesn't intend to hop the early states.