Wednesday, September 28, 2011

I Support Sharon Day and Paul Senft

I've publicly said that I want Florida to have an early presidential primary date. I understand why people in Iowa and New Hampshire like their early primaries, but I don't think it's in the best interest of the country (e.g., Iowa's disproportionate power in the presidential primaries is a large part of the reason why we have the wasteful and destructive ethanol subsidies).

As a Republican, I want Florida to have a prominent role in picking our nominee. We are a large, diverse state with complicated issues, so any candidate who can succeed here has proven the ability to succeed on a national scale.

That being said, news has broken today that the committee in charge of setting Florida's primary date is planning on scheduling it for January 31, 2012. Earlier tonight, Republican Party of Florida's National Committeeman Paul Senft sent out an email criticizing this date and laying out his reasons for opposing it. After reading the email, I agree with Senft that we should wait until early March.

I've cut and pasted the email below the jump. Read, and judge for yourself:

- A Special Message From Florida's National Committeeman Paul Senft -

Paul Senft
Republican National Committeeman From Florida

Why Moving Florida's Presidential Primary
To January 31, 2012 Hurts Our State

As was outlined unanimously by all the commentators on Fox News at 6PM – It makes no sense for Florida to move up to January and blow up the Presidential Primary Calendar. They all agree that we will be the first large and diverse state to go and with our full complement of delegates we will be more significant.

Since a story was leaked today saying that we were going to hold our primary on January 31, 2012, my phone and email have melted down. I, therefore, have been asked to do one summary to help inform people about our position. The only thing others will say is that going early will help Florida be more significant. I would submit that we will be less significant because no candidate can get momentum from the few delegates they will get from Florida. Further, how much more significant can we get than hosting the convention?

Our full allotment of delegates is: 99
After the three officers are removed our base becomes: 96
Cutting us as the penalty, we get only: 48
The rules require proportional allocation of delegates as follows – Example:
  • Candidate “A” gets 30% of the vote would get 14 delegates
  • Candidate “B” gets 20% of the vote would get 10 delegates
  • Candidate “C” gets 15% of the vote would get 7 delegates
  • Candidate “D” gets 10% of the vote would get 5 delegates
    And so on until the 48 delegates are gone.
The rules as adopted by the RPOF do not define proportionality – thus the RNC will decide on our definition of proportionality for us. The RNC is on record stating that they will honor the rules of state parties if proportionality is limited to state wide at large delegates. They indicated the Congressional Districts could still be awarded on a winner-take-all basis. The RPOF did not choose to define proportionality at all.

With the total delegates available in the six or seven states that are attempting to go before Florida, there will only be 212 delegates available. With a normal distribution of delegates among the candidates it is probable that several candidates will have 75 or 80 delegates if they are in the lead. Florida would be in a position to really lock up the lead and momentum for a candidate if it voted to go March 1,2,3,4 or 5 and still had its full allotment of 99 delegates. There is no penalty provided in the RNC Rules for those five days. It would be possible, with the proper definition of proportionality for a candidate to get 60 to 80 of Florida’s delegates and thus have a nice lead. (Again IF we were at full strength)

If Florida goes as early as is being discussed (January 31), we will have little, if any, impact on the delegate count for any candidate. Further, we will be slapping the RNC in the face after they gave the convention to Florida and we have not given the new rules a chance to see if they work.

Republicans have always been law abiding people who obey the rules. If we don’t want to go by the rules – if we want to be arrogant and only abide by the rules we like or agree with - then we should consider another party. As long as we are a member of the Republican Party we should go by their rules. If we want to change things, we should do it through the proper channels and procedures, not break the rules because we think we are better than other states. I agree that we have better demographics and are more representative than some of the four states that are authorized because of tradition and history to go early. They are small and we will be more meaningful if we are close to the front and at FULL STRENGTH.

If we break the rules again (this will be two in a row) we will alienate the remainder of the country. We have to demonstrate and prove that we can and will play by the rules before we can ask to legally be allowed to go early to help the country get our view (which we think will be a better view) of how the candidates will do with large state which has the many different voter groups that we have.

Republican National Committee Co-Chair & Florida's National Committeewoman Sharon Day and I will now be embarrassed for our state as we host the convention from the back row and have a hotel 30/40 miles away. It will also be sad that we will not have the guest passes we would normally have, even if the Nominee does give us a few.

I hope that this information is helpful. I wish our leadership had been more open to input and suggestions from the RNC and our representatives.

Paul Senft

National Committeeman,
Republican Party of Florida

You can call RPOF's main number at (850) 222-7920. You can contact Speaker Cannon's office at (850) 488-2472, and Senate President Haridopolos' office at (850) 487-5056.
Please call and politely tell them that you agree with Paul Senft and Sharon Day: Florida should have our primary in March. 
UPDATE: The news that Florida might hold our primary on January 31st drew a sharp reaction from Robert Stacy McCain, who definitely does not want to spend Christmas in Iowa. Stacy wrote a longer post today discussing the implications of an early Florida primary. I always find it interesting to see what things look like from the outside looking in. What do you think about what he wrote? Do you think the accusations are fair?


  1. Kudos for putting the welfare of the nation over the parochial prominence of the Sunshine State. While I agree that a large and diverse state such as Florida ought to have influence on the election, the accelerated calendar risks GOP Primary Chaos in which an undervetted candidate or one that does not appeal to the broad conservative base ends up being the nominee. Remember 2008?

  2. I am flabbergasted over this decision. Party members will not take kindly to this top-down strongarm tactic.

    Yes, I would love us to have an early primary. But we agreed to protocol set by the RNC. Now we are flaunting that agreement and refusing to abide by a promise we made.

    This will benefit no candidate. If we see a repeat of 2008, with an anointed candidate rather than one who inspires Main St., we will lose this election.

  3. I do NOT support Paul Senft . The RNC does not pay for any primary election, therefore they should have no control over the date set by our legislature. I am applaud that the RNC would take half of our delegates.
    I called the chairman of the RNC, and his office hung up on me. The GOP is proving to be no better than the democrats. If my primary vote means so little to the GOP, I'll give it to the DNC in the general election. Looks like Obama may carry the 29 electoral votes from Florida again in 2012. There's not that much difference between Romney and Obama anyway.
    I want my vote to count and I'm tired of the old guard republicans always getting their way. We need change, but we don't need the same old GOP anymore than we need Obama. The only way to sent that message is to stop the RNC in their tracks.

  4. It's no secret that Florida RNC National Committeeman Paul Senft endorsed Charlie Crist for the United States Senate. And Charlie jumped ranks. Paul Senft represents the old guard republicans that are fighting to hold on to their power. It's time to change the GOP. Senft should go.
    The RNC needs to quit fighting the new GOP and get on board. Otherwise, we are in for another 4 years of Obama. We may even lose our gains in the US House of Representatives. How dump is the GOP?

  5. Now this makes sense : “If (Senft) is worried about his commute from the hotel, then he’s clearly not focused on what’s most important,” Cannon went on, ”which is maximizing Florida voters’ voices in this process. … My job is to look out for Floridians first, and worry about party rules, and where people sit and where people stay in what hotels at conventions secondarily to that.”
    Obviously we elected our legislators, not Paul Senft.
    And the same goes foe every other state. These state RNC leaders are the ones that voted for the stupid rules in the first place. And non of these fools were elected. But they want to control the new GOP.
    Think about, how many of you voters care about following this stupid RNC rule about when a state can have its primary.
    I say support Cannon, and fire Senft.

  6. The truth is the GOP can't beat Obama without Florida's 29 electoral votes.
    The RNC needs to respect that and give us our delegates NOW.

  7. "Republicans have always been law abiding people who obey the rules. If we don’t want to go by the rules – if we want to be arrogant and only abide by the rules we like or agree with - then we should consider another party. As long as we are a member of the Republican Party we should go by their rules."
    Just ask who made the rules?
    They will all of the states voted unanimously.
    That would someone from every state, just like Paul Senft.
    How many of you voted for Paul Senft?

  8. Jim Greer: GOP leaders should put voters ahead of RNC on primary date
    With state leaders days after from picking Florida's presidential primary date, former state GOP chairman Jim Greer weighs in:
    If the RNC wants to play hardball with Florida, Florida should step up and play the game. Remember the Democratic Party was smart enough to know that alienating Florida was not a wise move and they rescinded their sanctions shortly before the 2008 convention and sat all of the delegates to the DNC's convention. As I did in 2008, the three RNC members from Florida should work to find a mutually acceptable solution, but in the end, nobody gets to the White House without winning the State of Florida and the RNC may need to be reminded of that.

  9. I guess that I'm not the only one that can see the RNC making a huge mistake. I'm preparing to begin sharing this issue through social networking and e-mails. God help the RNC Rules Committee, whoever they are.


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