Florida Senate President and U.S. Senate candidate Mike Haridopolos wants South Carolina and Iowa Republicans to chill out about punishing Florida for having an early primary:
"It continues to amaze me that Republican leaders in other states feel threatened by Florida in next year’s presidential preference primary. 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.
As the ultimate swing state with a population reflective of the country’s demographics, Florida should have a significant role as early in the nominating process as possible. Vice President Biden said last week that the President Obama’s fortunes for reelection rest on Florida. That should be our total focus.
Idle threats by other states are not productive. Unified Republicans will gather in Tampa in August 2012 to select the person who will replace Barrack Obama as President of the United States."
Karen Floyd, chairwoman of the South Carolina Republican Party, fired the first shot (no shock from the state that kicked off the Civil War) in this letter to the RNC: .
"Simply put, if Florida does not respect the process by which our primary calendar was set, the RNC should not be bound to the process by which the convention site was selected," Floyd wrote."If Florida refuses to move its primary date into compliance with RNC rules, I am respectfully requesting that the Committee convene a special task force to select a new site for the 2012 Convention outside the state of Florida." Full letter here.
That prompted a response from Matthew N. Strawn, chairman Republican Party of Iowa, “The contempt that Florida legislators hold not only for the RNC 2012 rules, but also for the RNC members who approved these rules, is astonishing. To reward this arrogance with our national convention is a great disservice to the Republican activists, donors and elected officials nationwide who support the RNC." Full letter here.
Florida House Speaker Dean Cannon issued a terse response: "I look forward to meeting Chairman Floyd and Chairman Strawn in Tampa next summer.”
Cannon's spokeswoman, Katie Betta, elaborated: "The speaker believes Florida could move its primary back, but not so far back that it renders the primary meaningless. There's little chance a super-majority Republican Legislature ill vote to make Florida's primary meaningless. The speaker believes Florida is the ultimate litmus test for Republican candidates -- especially now that Florida has two more electoral college votes, making us by far the most important swing state in the nation."