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Al Cardenas warns there's a GOP downside to the extended primary calendar

Al Cardenas, former chairman of the Republican Party of Florida and current chairman of the American Conservative Union, warned Wednesday that the extended primary schedule Florida unleashed Wednesday, with its decision to move its primary to Jan. 31, has a downside. It could result in a depletion of GOP resources, a brokered convention, and an advantage to President Obama.

"States don't seem to be thinking this completely through,'' he said. The goal of the rule changes made by the Republican National Committee this election cycle was to ensure that the campaign cycle would deepen the primary season, allowing more states to have a role in the selection of the nominees. They penalized states that set their primary calendars ahead of March, reducing the number of candidates as well as removing the opportunity for the primary winner to take all delgates, he said.

"Even though we haven't had a brokered convention since 1976, that doesn't mean we can't have one," said Cardenas, a Romney supporter in 2008.

He believes that in 2012 with the new rules and extended calendar, "No one will have enough delegates to call themselves a winner,'' he said. "Money will dry up for candidates that don't make headway but it could be that the primary process still drags on."

The upside is that more candidates will focus on the president and call attention to his flaws. It also will "be good for the states to have a say in the matter but,'' he warned, "the more we deplete our resources, the more it puts us at a competitive disadvantage against Obama in the home stretch."

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