A frustrating night due to Florida's unique election style. Incidentally, for the Republicans it's a winner takes all contest but the delegation size was halved because the primary is held earlier than the party's rules allow. For the Democrats, Hillary Clinton is claiming victory and not claiming victory, and she is but she is not including the delegates from Florida in her camp. Under Democratic Party rules, which were broken by Florida's holding the primary on January 29, no delegates are eligible, unless, if Senator Clinton can wing it, for her.
First, they let the media report exit polls when part of the state, in a different time zone is still voting. This is called undue influence and the networks involved should have their boards of directors jailed for five to ten years.
Second, it's very close in places like Orlando.
Lake County: 0% in, Romney +412 votes
Osceola County: 87% in, McCain +21 votes (no, that is not a typo)
Orange County: 91% in, Romney +19 votes (neither is that)
Seminole County: 70% in, Romney +1,337 votes
NET: Romney +1,789 votes OUT OF 120,000 total votes.
That's called a tie! - JAY COST
With all these points in mind, it seems Rudolf Giuliani will do well to finish third. Mike Huckabee, close behind the former New York Mayor, should benefit from support in Florida's "panhandle," the bit in the northwest which has a different timezone and is more neighboring Alabama in the Bible Belt. Unless of course the leaked exit polls persuade people to not bother going to the polls.
And then, from the official Florida Department of State website I find this:
UNOFFICIAL ELECTION NIGHT RETURNS
(may not include absentee or provisional ballots)
Here's the rub. If that disclaimer means what I think it means, there could be 150,000 uncounted ballots or more from early voters who used the postal system. These, the New York Times said, should favor Rudy.
There are rumours going around RealClearPolitics to the effect that Giuliani and Romney are preparing to quit.
The joke is that Ron Paul, who is doing quite badly in Florida, could well outlast most of the supposed heavyweights. Remind me why Fox News wouldn't have him on a debate instead of Fred Thompson and Rudy Giuliani?