ORLANDO, FL – Florida Governor Rick Scott took center stage at Florida’s Presidency 5 to lay out his criteria for the eventual Republican presidential nominee. In front of the state’s more than 3,000 delegates, Scott didn’t mention any of the presidential candidates by name, but he did make clear what voters should look for heading into the Florida straw poll.
The tea party Governor pointed to things like a candidate’s experience, philosophy, platforms, and approach to public policy. He also told delegates to look for courage to stand on principles, and advised support for someone with a plan for jobs and a balanced federal budget.
“We have an impressive roster of extremely qualified candidates seeking your support today, but only one of them can become our Republican nominee for president,” said Scott.
“You should listen to the candidates and carefully consider their experience, their philosophy, and whether they have the courage to stand up for the principles and to make the very difficult decisions that confront our nation,” he added.
Scott also emphasized how important Saturday’s straw poll is in the primary process: The Sunshine State’s 19 million residents make up a “true microcosm of America.” He pointed out that Florida has only had three other straw polls and each time, the winner went on to become the GOP nominee: Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush and Bob Dole.
“In a few months Republicans will hold primaries and caucuses throughout America and choose our nominee for President,” said Scott. “While there are a few primaries or caucuses earlier than Florida’s, non will have a greater impact on the selection of the nominee than our own primary in the Sunshine State.”
“Remember 2000?” Scott asked? “All those Palm Beach voters who couldn’t believe they voted for Pat Buchanan? Well, since 2008, I’ve met voters all over the state who can’t believe they voted for Barack Obama.”
“I’m convinced they’ll get it right next year,” he added.
Scott went on to deliver some harsh words about Washington and the Obama administration, scolding them for stifling job creation, spending the country into deeper debt, and hampering economic recovery.
The Florida straw poll results will be released late Saturday afternoon. Herman Cain, Newt Gingrich, Ron Paul, Jon Huntsman, Rick Perry, Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum are all competing. Huntsman and Romney, however, were not in attendance Saturday to meet delegates. Texas Governor Rick Perry headed to a campaign event in Michigan mid-morning.