Florida Flexes Political Muscle

Florida is finally flexing a little political muscle.

After 168 years of seeing their politicians play only minor roles on the national stage, Floridians suddenly have legitimate presidential contenders, an influential national party leader and key voices shaping national policy in both major parties.

"This is the heyday for Florida," said Ford O'Connell a Virginia-based GOP political strategist.

Florida has long drawn attention as the nation's most critical presidential swing state. Now, O'Connell said, it is producing the political leaders reflecting Florida's status as one of the four largest states — finally.

"Basically, for the next four years Florida is the center of the political universe," O'Connell said.

He also happens to be the biggest Democratic threat to win a swing state governorship in the run-up to 2016's wide open presidential contest. O'Connell said Republicans know they cannot afford to have Crist, as a Democrat, running that state while Rubio, Bush or someone else tries to win Sunshine State voters for the White House.

Read more from Jeremy Wallace at the Sarasota Herald-Tribune

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Analysis & Political Strategy