The state's historic election difficulties notwithstanding, Florida's presidential primaries will be among the earliest in the nation. Yesterday's legislative approval of the January 29 date is already provoking other states into maneuvering for the first spot. Said the Massachusetts secretary of state: "The idea that this election could begin in 2007 may come true."
Both national parties impose stiff penalties on states that schedule primaries before February 5, but New Hampshire and South Carolina vowed to reclaim their traditional precedence. Florida, where chaos reigned after the 2000 presidential general election, may lose half of its convention delegates. Republicans control the state legislature, but the sanctions would apply to both parties.