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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Haridopolos' 'primary' plea: 'We're No. 5'



Senate President Mike Haridopolos said Wednesday he supports Florida holding the fifth-in-the-nation presidential primary in 2012, as the first mega-state to help choose a Republican presidentian nominee. The Merritt Island lawmaker and history professor said he didn't think Florida should risk sanctions from the GOP such as the loss of delegates by jumping ahead of the early states of Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina.

"Our perspective, and I believe Senator (Marco) Rubio shares this perspective, is we're not looking to go first or second or even third or fourth," Haridopolos said. "Our goal is usually to be Number 1; we want to be Number 5. I'm okay with Number 5. So the idea is, how do we make us Number 5. We do not want to lose delegates, obviously."

He said he has not discussed a primary-date strategy with House Speaker Dean Cannon or Gov. Rick Scott. Haridopolos pointed to John McCain's narrow Florida victory in 2008 as a pivotal step in him capturing the Republican presidential nomination last time.

"It makes a lot of sense that if you can win in Florida, that you can find a lot of success nationally," Haridopolos said. "Because, candidly, I'd like to have a new president. I'm not going to support Barack Obama. I know I'm breaking news here, but I'm not going to support him for re-election."

[Last modified: Wednesday, March 16, 2011 12:27pm]


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