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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Cannon accuses Senft and other primary critics of being worried about image



House Speaker Dean Cannon blasted the critics, such as Florida RNC member Paul Senft, who said that the early primary will result in a diminishment of Florida's clout, not an increase. 

"The nominee will be chosen long before the convention,'' Cannon told reporters Thursday, a day after announcing that a legislatively-controlled committee will switch the date to Jan. 31 when they meet on Friday. "That's what happened in '08. It's going to happen again."

He dismissed concerns that Florida's lost delegates and its inability to deliver all delegates to the popular vote winner will lead to a brokered convention.

"That's just utterly untrue,'' Cannon said. ''Guess what the presidential primary date was in 2008? Jan. 31, we went fifth. 'Everybody said the same thing: Oh my gosh, you might lose your delegate at a convention -- which by the way is going to be held in Tampa.

"I think most of the people saying those things are people who might not have their seat on the floor and that's probably why. Florida is the msot economically, demographically and geographically diverse state in the country...We also by far and away are the largest electoral state that's up for grabs. With 29 electoral votes, Florida has more votes than Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina combined.

"We proved Back in 08, the person that won Florida because the Republican Party's nominee and I think it maximizes Floridians' voters voices. it may cause some heartburn among people who may want to go sit in a certain seat at a convention."

He said the state has "no intention" of trying to precede the traditional early primary states. But once Arizona broke the RNC rules, "my job is to protect Florida voters first and worry about RNC rules second."

 Cannon also took aim at Senft's suggestion that Florida delegates will lose their ability to be situated in a hotel close to the convention because of the state's decision. "Look, if he's worried about his commute from the hotel, then he's clearly not focused on what's most important which is maximizing Florida's voters voices in this process."

[Last modified: Thursday, September 29, 2011 5:32pm]


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