PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE ROMNEY COMING TO LAKELAND
Lakeland Ledger political columnist Bill Rufty reported earlier in the week in his blog Polk Politics that the Polk County Republican Executive Committee was working to get presidential candidate and former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney as the keynote speaker for it's Lincoln Day Dinner. That has now been confirmed, and the event will be held at the Lakeland Center at 5:30 PM on May 24. (Personal observation: Isn't 5:30 kinda early for a dinner? Most business types are barely getting out of the office by then.)
The I-4 Corridor has earned the reputation of becoming a major battleground for politics in Florida, and Polk County is in the middle of it all. After all, this is the second straight year that the local GOP has attracted a presidential contender to keynote it's major fundraising event. Last year, it was U.S. Senator John McCain (R - AZ). And Bill Rufty mentions that after word got out that the Polk Repubs were talking possible dates with Romney's camp, staffers with Rudolph Giuliani's campaign got in touch to offer the former New York City mayor's appearance. He has been invited to come to Polk County sometime this summer.
The region's reputation as a political hotbed would only improve if the State House approves a pending bill to move Florida's presidential preference primary to early February. Unfortunately, Democratic National Committee Chairman Dr. Howard Dean is not happy with the prospect. He has threatened to take away delegates to next year's national convention and encourage Democratic candidates not to campaign in Florida if the measure is passed. A truly stupid move which would probably alieniate more Floridians from the Democratic Party and be generally ignored by candidates who realize that the Sunshine State is not only important in terms of electoral votes but money as well.
Personally, I like my idea better. I posted it back in January, and calls for a series of regional primaries based on geography, scheduled from mid-January through mid-May. They would rotate every four years so that the region whose primary was scheduled first one election cycle would be last the following time. You can check it out by clicking here.