Florida's Early Primary Could Bring Big Consequences

House Speaker Dean Cannon is a key voice in Tallahassee, and now he could be a kingmaker in the presidential contest.

Cannon is giving his blessing to a January 31 early primary, a call that'll be made by a select committee on Friday.

Even before Cannon weighed in Wednesday, Senate President Mike Haridopolos said last week an early primary is all but a done deal.

"We want to have a big say in who the republican nominee is," Sen. Haridopolos said. "By moving it early, the position that the governor, myself and the speaker have made, I think that makes Florida even more relevant."

As it was in 2008, when Florida's early primary catapulted John McCain to victory on super Tuesday and beyond.

But as in 2008, in 2012 republicans stand to lose half their voting power at the national convention in Tampa.

Florida democrats would face a penalty like that, too. That's why state party executive director Scott Arceneaux says they're prepared to hold Obama re-election caucuses in May to avoid the sanctions.

"Their delegates will be penalized," Arceneaux said. "I mean, Florida will have less representation at the Republican Convention because of what they're doing here. They don't seem to care, they don't seem to care what the rules are, that frankly their people agreed to, and they don't care about the taxpayer money that they're wasting with this dog-and-pony committee."

Technically, lawmakers have already set the primary for the last Tuesday in January. The committee was formed to explore if that decision was a good idea.

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