Florida should hold its presidential primary fifth next year, following Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada, Senate President Mike Haridopolos said Wednesday. Haridopolos said in a regularly held availability to answer questions from the media, that he doesn’t want Florida to lose delegates to the national convention, and so doesn’t want to move it ahead of those traditional early states. But Haridopolos, R-Merritt Island, who will be on the ballot as a candidate for U.S. Senate, said he’d like to see Florida go as early as possible after that and to have the day to itself.
After weeks of dodging the question, Senate President Mike Haridopolos acknowledged Wednesday that he is raising money for his U.S. Senate bid during the legislative session. “My opponent, Bill Nelson, is raising money and he’s never stopped,” said Haridopolos, R-Merritt Island, who’s seeking the GOP nomination to run against the Democratic incumbent. “And I’m doing the same thing.”
Haridopolos did say he has decided not to hold any fundraising events during the session. There’s a ban in legislative rules on raising money for lawmakers seeking a state office, but the rule doesn’t apply to lawmakers seeking federal office. And Haridopolos ticked off a list of Democratic members of Florida’s congressional delegation that he said had raised money for their federal runs during sessions. “I’m following the law,” he said. “That’s exactly what I’m doing.”
U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio has gotten another mention as a possible name on the Republican presidential ticket in 2012, with the Wall Street Journal’s John Fund saying the freshman U.S. senator from Miami is the “clear frontrunner” to be the GOP’s choice of a running mate for whover its candidate is next year.
The Hill’s Keith Laing (a News Service of Florida alum) has a story today in the Washington newspaper that points out that former Florida Republican Party Chairman Al Cardenas is registered in Washington to lobby for Florida High Speed Rail LLC., which was planning to bid on train work. That makes Cardenas just one of several Florida Republicans at odds with Gov. Rick Scott, who killed the proposed train last week.
President Obama will hit two fundraisers this evening in Miami Beach. The first is a Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee event at the Fontainebleau Hotel. The second, at the Miami Beach home of big Democratic fundraiser Michael Adler, will be in part to raise money for U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson’s re-election bid. Nelson has a 2012 target on him, and half the money raised at this event will reportedly go to help him. Nelson and U.S. Sen. Patty Murray of Washington, the chairwoman DSCC, will attend. The other half of the money goes to the DSCC. Obama’s fundraising follows a visit to a Miami high school, where the president will talk about education with students, and with former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush. U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan will also be there. Bush and Obama largely agree on the need for more measurement of learning gains in schools.
Gov. Rick Scott clarified on Thursday that he thinks “we ought to get rid of” collective bargaining, but said that’s unlikely because it’s in the state constitution. “We have collective bargaining in our constitution, We’d have to do an amendment to our constitution so we’re going to have collective bargaining,” Scott said in an interview on the CNBC TV network from the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. “If we’re going to change collective bargaining we’ve got to do that through an amendment to our constitution.”
Scott said earlier this year that he was “fine with collective bargaining” at the height of the protests in Wisconsin, where Gov. Scott Walker is trying to end public employees’ rights to bargain through a union. But on Wednesday, Scott said: “I believe that collective bargaining hurts the most effective, the hardest working employees. That’s the problem with collective bargaining. What you have to do is pay somebody who doesn’t work as hard, or is not as effective, the same amount. That’s why I’m focused on collective bargaining. That’s why I think we ought to get rid of it.” Scott hasn’t publicly proposed a change in the constitutional guarantee of the right to collectively bargain, but unions don’t like several policies he’s put forward, particularly a proposal that public employees contribute 5 percent to their pension plans. Currently state workers don’t contribute to their retirement accounts.”
The News Service of Florida
The 2012 presidential campaigning for crucial Florida has begun. Three potential Republican presidential candidates will be in Palm Beach this weekend for a closed-door meeting of the Club for Growth. Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour are all slated to speak at the Club for Growth’s Economic Conference in Palm Beach, club spokesman Mike Connolly told the News Service Wednesday. The event, which is closed to the public and press, also will include House Speaker John Boehner, Sen. Mike Lee of Utah and South Dakota Sen. John Thune, among others, Connolly said. The event for Club for Growth members includes speeches and panel discussions.
Former state Rep. Leslie Waters, a Republican from Seminole, tells the Tampa Tribune that she plans to challenge Republican Rep. Jim Frishe n the 2012 race for the Senate District 13 seat now held by term-limited Republican Sen. Dennis Jones. Waters is running a government consulting firm and teaching at USF-St. Petersburg, as well as serving as vice mayor of Seminole.
The outgoing chairwoman of the South Carolina Republican Party said she would support having the GOP convention pulled from Florida in 2012 if the state doesn’t fall in line with national rules for when states can hold primaries. “I would not be averse to pulling the convention if Florida doesn’t follow the parameter of the rules,” state party chairwoman Karen Floyd, who is not seeking re-election, told the Tampa Tribune. “If you can’t play by the rules you can’t receive the benefit of those rules.” Florida’s primary is currently set for Jan. 31 of next year, which would put it ahead of Iowa and New Hampshire, putting it in violation of party rules, which say that only those two states plus South Carolina and Nevada can hold primaries before early March. Senate President Mike Haridopolos, R-Merritt Island, has said he wants Florida to have its primary early to showcase it as a key state. U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio also says Florida should go early. Gov. Rick Scott has said he doesn’t want Florida to be punished for going too early. “If the RNC thinks the way to win Florida is to sanction the most important swing state in the country, then good luck to them,” he said. The 2012 GOP convention is scheduled to be in Tampa in late August of next year.