Florida’s upcoming straw poll, Sept. 24 in Orlando, is not attracting the attention of the top contenders in the Republican primary presidential field.
What if you threw a big mock election and nobody bothered to campaign?
If it’s Florida, that election still could be a big deal.
On Sept. 24 in Orlando, 3,500 ardent Republican activists in this must-win state cast votes for their preferred presidential nominee. The three times the Florida GOP has held such straw polls, the winner went on to win Florida’s primary and the presidential nomination — Ronald Reagan in 1979, George H.W. Bush in 1987 and Bob Dole in 1995.
This year, though, the so-called “Presidency 5” straw poll has most of the presidential campaigns skittish, confused or decidedly unenthusiastic. Only Herman Cain, Jon Huntsman and Ron Paul have committed to participate in the mock election, which essentially means showing up that Saturday afternoon and giving a speech.
“I don’t see any path to the White House that doesn’t include victory in Florida and for Republicans that starts when you have 3,500 of the most active Republicans in the state coming to see you and hear you to understand if you’re the best candidate to defeat Barack Obama,” said Brian Hughes, the Republican Party of Florida communications director.