Grasping at straws
From the Tampa Tribune-
TALLAHASSEE - Florida Republican Party Chairman Jim Greer on Monday killed plans for the party to hold a presidential primary straw vote at its state convention in October.I for one if given a choice between a candidate debate and a straw poll, would choose the former. The poll is meaningless while a debate allows one to hear the candidate's views. Not that Florida is likely to much voice in the Republican primary selection. That's unless the election date is moved up. This is not a certainty yet.
The decision will affect the presidential primary race, denying hard-charging candidate Mitt Romney a vehicle he hoped to use to gain ground on the better-known leaders, Rudy Giuliani and John McCain.
It also seems likely to anger at least some grass-roots activists in a party that already divided over Greer's election as the chairman last month.
To sweeten the disappointment to party activists who were looking forward to the straw poll, Greer said the state party's convention will include a live, nationally televised GOP presidential candidates debate, and a ticket sales plan to help county party organizations raise money.
The debate will air on Fox News, moderated by one of Fox's news stars.
One detail could prove controversial - party officials told the candidates they will have to pay $100,000 to participate in the convention and the debate.
It's not unusual for parties and other organizations to charge candidates for campaigning at meetings and conventions, but charging for space in a debate or forum is less common.
A debate instead of a straw vote during the party's Oct. 20-21 convention in Orlando may not satisfy some party regulars.
"Pretty disgusted" was the reaction of Carol Carter, a longtime party activist from Tampa and one of Hillsborough County's delegates to the state party executive committee.
"Presidency IV has been announced and touted, and the grass-roots people were getting enthused about being able to express their opinions and get involved," she said. "They've taken away an opportunity for a lot of people to participate."
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