“Florida this year is crucial. Romney wins it — or Romney does not win. I predict he will win Florida,” former presidential candidate and longtime conservative Pat Buchanan said in an exclusive interview with the Daily Caller. “About the nation,” he added, “too close to call.”
Two separate polls by Gravis Marketing and the Public Policy Polling released Sunday show Republican nominee Mitt Romney narrowly leading the swing state by 1 point, with 49 to President Barack Obama’s 48.
And if there is anyone who knows anything about the significance of Florida in a presidential election, it’s Buchanan.
In the 2000 presidential election, Buchanan, the Reform Party nominee, received 3,407 votes in Palm Beach County — a higher percentage of the vote than he received anywhere else in Florida.
Palm Beach became the main focus of the ballot recount in the the state, where the Democratic nominee Al Gore’s campaign argued that many unintentionally voted for Buchanan due to the ballot format.
“What cost Al Gore Florida in 2000, and the presidency, was the ‘butterfly ballot’ in [Palm Beach] County,” Buchanan told the Daily Caller. “My name was on the right side and his was on the left, almost exactly even down from the top of the ballot. The chads to be punched were in the middle, between our names. My name right beside his on the butterfly ballot cost Al Gore thousands of votes — and the presidency.”
Twelve years later, Palm Beach County is once again the scene of voter controversy.
After 108 suspicious new voter registrations were turned in last month in Palm Beach County, the Florida GOP was forced to fire voter registration firm Strategic Allied Consulting, which was hired to help register and turnout voters in Florida. This scandal could lead to skepticism of voter turnout in Florida, should the state become a tie-breaker like it was in 2000.
The dark horse in the race this year is Libertarian Party nominee Gary Johnson, who many Republicans worry will steal votes from Romney. And Republicans have reason to worry: Buchanan claims he cost George W. Bush four states in 2000.
In the 2000 election results for Wisconsin, Iowa, New Mexico and Oregon, Buchanan noted, “you will see that if the Buchanan vote were added to the Bush vote, he would have carried all four. Bush lost all four.”
“While we may have cost Mr. Bush four states, we cost Al Florida, and Big Casino,” Buchanan said. “It is said that the Lord looks out with special care for dogs, drunks and the United States of America. He was looking out for me in that election. Had Gore won Florida despite Palm Beach County, the Bush folks would have blamed the four lost states, with some justification, on me, and you would likely have never heard of me again. The Lord takes care of his own.”