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Politics

A Wrap on Presidency 5

September 23, 2011 - 6:00pm

A selection of blog postings from the Sunshine State News staff in Orlando last week:

NOT ASKING MUCH

Florida Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll didnt endorse anyone on the RPOFs Presidency 5 straw poll ballot, but she described her vision of the ideal candidate for delegates gathering Saturday morning at the Orange County Convention Center.

We need to make sure we have someone that is intelligent, someone that is charismatic, someone that can carry a message to any demographic in our country, someone that can have the passion and heart to do what is right, even in a world of wrongs, and someone that will stand up to all the bureaucracies, stand up to the naysayers, stand up to all the oppression that will come his or her way and lead this nation on to excellence.

-- Jim Turner

PICKING A WINNER

Two members of the Republican majority that controls the Florida House had different experiences after Herman Cain routed the field to win the Republican Party of Floridas (RPOF) P5 straw poll on Saturday.

Rep. Scott Plakon, R-Longwood, endorsed Cain on Friday -- making the conservative legislator who represents parts of Orange and Seminole counties the only major Florida Republican behind Cain. House Speaker Dean Cannon, R-Winter Park, was very active in backing Texas Gov. Rick Perry, even raising arms with the Lone Star State Republican at an event on Thursday.

With Cain getting more than twice the votes that Perry got, Plakon leaves P5 a big winner -- something that cannot be said of Cannon.

-- Kevin Derby

TWO STEPS FORWARD ...

U.S. Rep. Ron Paul of Texas is doing better in his bid for the Republican presidential nomination in 2012 than he did in 2008, but he has one huge problem -- Florida.

Paul garnered 3 percent when he ran in 2008 and, on Saturday, he pulled 10.4 percent in the Republican Party of Floridas P5 straw poll in Orlando. That put him in fifth place -- behind winner Herman Cain (37.1 percent), Gov. Rick Perry of Texas (15.4 percent), former Gov. Mitt Romney of Massachusetts (14 percent) and former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania (10.9 percent).

Despite legions of supporters at the P5 event, Paul continues to flop in the Sunshine State. If he is going to be a major factor in the 2012 presidential election, Paul will have to do better in Florida, which remains the biggest prize up for grabs in the Republican primary battle and the general election.

-- Kevin Derby

PICKING A WINNER II

Businessman Herman Cain is attracting interest from college Republicans attending the P5 event in Orlando.

However, GOP students continue to watch for New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie for a possible entry into the presidential race.

Many students didnt like the way former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and Texas Gov. Rick Perry clashed during debates, while Cain --a former chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank in Kansas City --offered more ideas, said Jon Taylor, the treasurer of the Florida Federation of College Republicans and Florida Atlantic University student.

Just the way he articulates his message resonates with us, Taylor said of why Cain has surged. He doesnt talk like an academic. We have enough of that already. We like real people.

But thats doesnt mean the students -- outside the Ron Paul crowd -- are going to anchor themselves to a candidate.

Taylor and other college Republicans, including each chapter chair, had breakfast Saturday with Bill Kristol of The Weekly Standard.

The second that Chris Christie came up, all of us, 100 percent of the people there, would support Chris Christie, Taylor said. It would be a game changer.

The New York Post reported Saturday that Christie may make a decision this week regarding a White House run. However, the Star Ledger noted Christie repeated denials of such speculation.

-- Jim Turner

ELEPHANTS HAVE LONG MEMORIES

As voting directions were given to delegates at the P5 straw poll Saturday in Orlando, a special comment was made for the Palm Beach delegation --asking if they, more than anyone else, understood the directions. The focus on Palm Beach County drew immediate laughter from many of the other 3,500 delegates throughout the Orange County Convention Center hall.

Earlier in the day, Gov. Rick Scott, in his keynote address, also made light of Florida's 2000 election debacle that was highlighted by the butterfly ballot in Palm Beach County that resulted in an unexpectedly large number of votes in Democratic portions of the county for Reform Party candidate Pat Buchanan.

"Remember 2000? All those Palm Beach voters who couldnt believe they voted for Pat Buchanan?" Scott said. "Well, since 2008, Ive met voters all over the state who cant believe they voted for Barack Obama. Im convinced theyll get it right next year."

-- Jim Turner

A NUMBERS GAME?

Florida state Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Shalimar, is backing Gov. Rick Perry of Texas for the Republican presidential nomination. Gaetz posted on Twitter on Saturday that supporters of former Gov. Mitt Romney of Massachusetts were voting for businessman Herman Cain in the RPOF Presidency 5 straw poll.

Romney campaign is having their Presidency 5 delegates vote for Cain to skew results, insisted Gaetz.

Cain has enjoyed some momentum in recent days and has ranked as one of the more popular candidates with P5 attendees.

-- Kevin Derby

LOOKING BACK, AND AHEAD

Florida Gov. Rick Scott weighed in on Saturday after businessman Herman Cain shocked the world by winning the Republican Party of Florida's (RPOF) Presidency 5 straw poll.

"The Presidency 5 straw poll finished a great week for the Republican Party of Florida, said Scott. Congratulations to Herman Cain for his victory. Today's results reinforce the crucial role Florida's primary will play in the selection of our nominee and show that no candidate can take Florida for granted. Clearly, communicating a strong conservative message directly to Florida and its grass-roots voters made a difference today. I believe that, as we saw in 2010, a challenging primary between our Republican candidates will serve our party, state and nation well in preparing to defeat President Obama in 2012."

-- Kevin Derby

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