Sunday, January 22, 2012

Should Florida Politicians Endorse GOP Candidates?

Florida Senator Mike Haridopolos
MERRITT ISLAND, Florida  -- Florida State Senator Mike Haridopolos came out just three days ago to endorse Republican Presidential Primary candidate Mitt Romney.  

U.S. House of Representative Sandy Adams, Florida U.S. Senate Candidate Connie Mack IV, along with Florida Representatives Steve Crisafulli and John Tobia also endorsed Mitt Romney for President.

But there are problems for Mitt Romney amongst Republican voters - his record as Massachusetts' Governor.  Placing the word "Republican" after an anti-gun, pro-choice, socialized medicine candidate is like putting the word "Burger" after Tofu.

When the Republican establishment machine began to spew out Romney endorsements from other politicians beginning last fall, it was like trying to tell red meat Republican voters to shut up and eat your "Burger." 

Beyond the political talent displayed by Newt Gingrich in South Carolina last week, his candidacy still would not have succeeded to a double digit win if there wasn't underlying disdain for Mitt Romney amongst conservative voters.  

By endorsing Romney, South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley now finds herself attached to a moderate Republican candidate who only carried three counties in her state.  Whether she will feel the wrath for her endorsement from those who supported a different GOP candidate will remain to be seen.  U.S. Senator Jim Demint (R-SC) wisely chose not to endorse one of the GOP candidates.

Florida could see a similar backlash against Romney - but it is a much more complex state where The South lies in North Florida and The North is in South Florida.  So the degree of backlash will probably not be as severe as in South Carolina.  This geographic demographic distinction also makes Central Florida counties the Mason-Dixon line between Southern conservative and Northern moderate Republicans.  Expect to see the candidates leap frog the counties they believe they will lose and focus on the battleground counties because Florida is a large state with a short amount of campaign time between primaries.

The political danger to local politicians who endorsed Romney is whether their political district ultimately and overwhelming chooses a different Republican candidate.  If this happens, then potential challengers could come out of the woodwork to say, "This is what your incumbent stood for during the Presidential primary election."

Then of course there is the possibility of one more shoe to drop - Romney's tax returns.  If there is something so despicable, immoral, or illegal contained in Romney's tax returns, then those Florida politicians who decided to endorse Romney could find their judgment skills called into question by voters.

Although 'Mystery Date' was a popular game amongst baby boomers when they were children, it is not a game they want to play as voting adults when picking a President.  It is also a game politicians should not play when endorsing a candidate for perceived personal political gains.

Like Senator Demint, Congressman Bill Posey has not endorsed any GOP primary candidate but will support the Republican nominee.  "It’s his policy to stay out of primaries and let people decide for themselves," said Posey's Press Secretary George Cecala.


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