Menzies House U.S. Politics Editor Amir Iljazi gives a preliminary analysis of the upcoming Florida Primary for the 2012 GOP Nomination.
The Florida GOP Primary contest will be held tomorrow and no race could be more crucial. The results could be the deciding factor in how the nomination fight will play out over the next couple of months. This state has been a “game-changer” going back to the 2000 election, and the upcoming vote in the Sunshine State this year will be no different.
Marco Rubio’s decision not to endorse will be validated
Throughout the entire campaign there have been several major political figures whose endorsement have been seen as more than just routine and in some cases “game-changers.” One such coveted endorsement was that of Florida’s Junior Senator and rising Republican star Marco Rubio. He ultimately decided not to endorse in the race preserving a sense of importance, while at the same time being able to comment on the contest without being seen as bias.
Marco Rubio is on everyone's short-list for VP... even Obama's
No matter what happens Tuesday night, Rubio is still in prime position as a VP prospect (regardless of his statements to the contrary) had he endorsed, there are any number of scenarios that could have played out which may have ultimately caused damage to his prospects (see Nikki Haley).
Rick Santorum and Ron Paul will show why they are not viable
This is not a criticism of the two candidates, it is merely an observation based on what has taken place so far and what will happen in the Florida Primary. Ron Paul and Rick Santorum had strong finishes in Iowa and New Hampshire respectively, but South Carolina was a completely different story. The two gentlemen are taking divergent paths forward but the story will end with the same bottom line: neither man will be the GOP nominee. Paul is already focusing on the Caucuses and will make his move to be a factor during the convention. Santorum, who is having some family-related issues at the moment and I wish him all the best, is slowly appearing to have the gas tank head for empty. The importance of the two men in the race is real… but their chances to be the nominee are in fact non-existent.
Newt Gingrich’s “electability” problem will crystallize in Florida
The vote in South Carolina was a shocker to some since Gingrich had won over so many voter demographics in such a large way that it was almost unreal. That being said, South Carolina wasn’t voting for Newt… they were repudiating Romney and more specifically the vote in New Hampshire and the GOP establishment. The vote in Florida is about to repudiate South Carolina and there is one glaring difference that will make the message from Florida more important that the one in South Carolina: Florida is a swing-state and South Carolina is not.
Newt Gingrich will press on, regardless of the outcome in Florida
Regardless of who the nominee is, South Carolina will vote for the GOP nominee in November but the same cannot be said of Florida. The way in which Florida is about to vote will show that Gingrich may not be able to appeal beyond states that are just… well, Republican.
Florida will once again get the best of the RNC top brass
The Florida GOP has earned the scorn of the Republican National Committee for the second Presidential election cycle in a row… and they could care less. Florida has flouted the rules committee, which sets up the Primary calendar, by scheduling their Primary contest in January and making it a winner a take all (the others have been proportionally rewarded). As a penalty for these infractions the state has lost half of their total delegates and they have also lost prime seating and hotel reservation priority at the convention. The irony of all of this is that the convention will be held in Tampa, FL! The Florida Primary has become the main focus for the second cycle in a row and may help to clarify a great deal in this race and the state has proven once again that they are an important part of the process and will be equally important when the general election arrives.
Mitt Romney will head into February with massive momentum
Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney appeared to be losing this nomination fight after Newt’s decisive win in South Carolina, but after a few minor strategy changes and quite possibly his best debate performance to date, Romney has surged ahead and will win the Florida Primary by a quite possibly a wider margin than that in which Newt defeated him in South Carolina. Romney took a different tactic this time around and after Newt’s “second surge” he played hardball and bludgeoned the Speaker with ad-after-ad and with the help of several key surrogates the likelihood that Romney doesn’t win Florida is nearly impossible.
Mitt Romney is looking to make Florida the key to winning the nomination
There is only one debate scheduled for the month of February and the contests are mainly caucuses so the calendar favors Romney; couple that with a decisive win in Florida on Tuesday… and he could be nearly unstoppable from this point forward.
The Florida vote will be held in my state in less than 24 hours and I can honestly say to the readers that I will be participating, but I have not yet made up my mind. I have taken in several factors while trying to decide exactly how I will be voting. We have nothing else on the ballot in my district so I will be making a single decision when I go into the booth on Primary day. I believe that the Florida Primary will be important not only because of the winner-take-all aspect, but because our state is somewhat of a bellwhether state which will be crucial to both parties. We have an important Senate race and no candidate has won the Presidency without our state for the last four Presidential election contests… I am certain that 2012 will follow the trend.
Amir Iljazi is the U.S. Politics Editor of Menzies House. He earned his Master's Degree in Political Science at American University in Washington, D.C. and currently resides in Tampa, Florida. Before relocating back to Florida, he specialized in longitudinal campaign tracking and voter trends for Federal Races nationwide while working for a Washington DC based center-right political advocacy organisation. You may follow him on Twitter@Michi83