Florida Stakes an Early Presidential Claim: The Ticker

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By Francis Wilkinson

Florida made no news today. As expected, a state committee appointed by legislative leaders and Governor Rick Scott set Jan. 31 as the date for Florida's presidential primary. And as expected, officials in the four states that normally lead off the balloting -- Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina -- scrambled to respond to what a New Hampshire Republican called Florida's "arrogance."

There is more than arrogance at stake in the early primaries: there is also power and money. There are state officials who want to be courted by candidates seeking endorsements. There are news organizations that want to be where the action is. There are local television stations salivating over the prospect of millions -- or tens of millions -- in advertising dollars (money that will be long gone by the time states like New Jersey get around to voting in June). There are headquarters to open and operatives to be housed and fed by local establishments.

So it's no wonder that Florida wants to vote in the early going. What's astonishing is that the rest of the nation continues to let Iowa, New Hampshire and the other early birds dominate the crucial opening round of each and every American presidential election.

-0- Sep/30/2011 23:26 GMT