Tales from the Trail

Hey, wavering Republicans – file by Halloween, or turn into a pumpkin

September 28, 2011

A January 31 Florida primary would offer a big treat for anyone tired of the ‘will she/won’t he’ speculation about possible new entries to the Republican presidential field — a hard deadline, on Halloween.

Florida officials say the state is expected to move up its primary to the January date, which means that candidates have until Oct. 31 — Halloween — to file paperwork to get their names on the ballot in the vote-rich state.

Florida is the fourth-most populous state, with more than 18 million people, and it is by far the largest of the “swing states” not strongly aligned with either political party, where U.S. elections are typically decided.

If the state holds its primary early, it could actually push the deadline even closer for former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, and any of the other politicians who have said they are considering a run or those whose admirers wish they would run. Are you listening, former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani and current Mayor Michael Bloomberg?

The Republican Party has authorized four states — Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina — to hold early contests to choose the nominee to oppose President Barack Obama’s 2012 re-election bid. Those states had planned to hold their contests in February, but would almost certainly move up their primary elections and caucuses ahead of Florida.

That would put some other holidays on the Republican candidates’ minds — Christmas, Hannukah and New Year’s — because a shift in the primary calendar would force them to be out campaigning hard during December.

Photo credit: REUTERS/Rick Wilking (Carved pumpkins on a truck in in Boulder, Colo. Oct 31, 2007 )

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