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Ex- GOP chief supports earlier Florida primary

Al Cardenas, the former chairman of the Republican Party of Florida, is weighing in on House Speaker Marco Rubio's proposal to move up Florida's presidential primary in 2008.

In a recent Op-Ed in Diario Las Americas, Cardenas says Florida should have more of a say in picking the nominees, who are typically well established by the time the state's March primary rolls around.

"It makes no sense that we are so important at the time of choosing the president, but we're not taken into account at the moment of choosing the candidates,'' Cardenas wrote in Spanish. "With the end of Jeb Bush's term in Tallahassee, and with President George W. Bush in the final two years of his second term, it is now Florida's turn to compete as an equal with the rest of the states for the attention of the eventual nominees.''

Cardenas, a Miami attorney, says he also supports the state GOP holding a presidential straw poll at its October 2007 convention in Orlando.