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Presidency 5 debate, FL straw poll could separate "wheat from the chaff"


t’s round three for Rick Perry and Mitt Romney. But Thursday night’s debate in Orlando could be strike three for the other Republican presidential candidates.

After two shots at Perry, the lesser-known rivals have their last major chance to remain relevant at the nationally televised debate. But this could also be Perry’s last moment as a clear front runner as Romney and the rest of the crew go after the Texas governor.

In case there’s any doubt about the state of the race in Florida, about 3,500 Republican Party of Florida’s elected leaders, insiders and grassroots activists will render a verdict Saturday at the Presidency 5 straw-poll mock election — a vote that has historically favored the national party’s nominee for president.

“What you’re going to see is a separation of the top tier candidates from everyone else. That’s going to be the key,” said Alex Patton, a Gainesville Republican consultant and with War Room Logistics, a new polling firm.