TALLAHASSEE, Fla., Aug. 23 (UPI) -- The Republican Florida Legislature's move to end statewide runoff elections could backfire in the GOP Senate primary, the Orlando Sentinel said Monday.
The Republicans have seven candidates in the race, and polls indicate former Rep. Bill McCollum, R-Fla., is the likely winner in the vote Aug. 31. But many Republicans feel former Bush cabinet member Mel Martinez would be a stronger candidate.
With a field that large, a runoff would have been likely and historically, the second-place finisher has a good chance to overturn the result.
"I think that was the dumbest thing we've done in a long time," said Tom Slade, former chairman of the Republican Party of Florida. "I think it is political manipulation that eventually will come back to haunt both parties."
The change was made three years ago when the state's election laws underwent significant change after the disputed presidential election, won by President Bush.
The Legislature was trying to create more time in the primary and general election season for getting ballots ready and counting absentee ballots.