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The Alligator Army Endorsements: Florida Primary Election

It does not matter if you are Democrat or Republican, Conservative or Liberal, American politics is a beautiful thing. Since I have a blog and a political science degree, I might as well talk about our beautiful democracy. Remember, the only two things with winners and losers are politics and sports. If you're not into this type of story, just skip it. If you are, please don't start a political flame war. Thanks!

Now, I invite you to follow me as we take a spin in the Political Arena.

Moving Florida's primary, despite the penalties both parties will level on the state's delegates, was a necessary move. We are the fourth largest state and it is about time Florida starts swinging a big stick. Both Martinez and Nelson have done a decent job with that in the Senate, but having our primary in January helps a lot. No longer will candidates make fundraising stops here in March and Florida will see the real campaigning that every one else gets. That will further expose the candidates. Florida faces unique challenges and it would be nice to confront the candidates on those challenges before Super Tuesday states like Alabama, Georgia, and Oklahoma determine the election. (Want proof? Look how Giuliani has gotten lit up in Florida. He thought Florida was all about Northeast transplants.)

In terms of Alligator Army's ® Official Presidential Primary Endorsements, I looked at one thing; what is their connection to the University of Florida. Working in news in college, I had to stay neutral. I've had Republicans accuse me of being liberal and Democrats accuse me of being conservative. When they would ask, I always told them I was a Gator.

Republicans: This is an easy one. From The Gainesville Sun.

University of Florida President Bernie Machen told The Sun in an exclusive interview Sunday that he was endorsing U.S. Sen. John McCain in the Jan. 29 presidential primary.
"This was a personal announcement, and it has nothing to do with the University of Florida," Machen said. "I have known Sen. McCain for a number of years and have long had respect for him. I just decided it was something I was very sure about and would make my own statement about."

Bernie Machen got Urban Meyer from Utah and he's been around for three National Championships. I'm not going against that. And since we're talking about endorsements in Florida, Gov. Charlie Crist endorsed McCain. Um, where was he when McCain's campaign was in chaos? How convenient that he jumps on the bandwagon as his Amendment 1 is struggling. Also, John McCain loves our other blog, The Sporting Orange. So we love him.

The Endorsement: Sen. John McCain

Democrats: The Republicans have been fun to watch because you have a businessman, a jerk, a libertarian, a maverick, and a populist. But they are all competing for the same bloc of voters. On the Democratic side, it is a fight between the establishment and new blood. We haven't had this type of fight since the 2000 Republican Primary, and the establishment won there and ultimately the Oval Office.

But remember, we're looking at this in terms of the University of Florida. Support of the State's Flagship University should ensure that whatever candidate is connected most to UF is most connected to the concerns of the state. Perhaps shockingly, this is an easy pick.

Do a Google search of Hillary Clinton, "University of Florida" and you get about 51,200 hits, but no real connection. Do the same search with Obama and you get 44,600 hits.

However, one of the links goes to the History News Network which endorses Obama. One of the historians endorsing Obama is a UF professor. + 1 to Obama. In an article discussing university presidents endorsing candidates, it is pointed out that Miami president Donna Shalala is endorsing Clinton. That makes sense since Shalala worked in the Clinton Administration. But she's with `The U' now and that makes it -1 for the Senator from New York. Clinton is also being endorsed by Sen. Bill Nelson. She should get the +1 because Nelson went to UF right? Wrong. Nelson graduated from Yale and then attended Virginia Law School. Hillary gets a goose egg here.

In the clincher, Obama has raised more than Clinton at UF. +1 to Obama.

The Endorsement: Sen. Barack Obama

Amendment 1: You can't argue against lower taxes but there are concerns that schools will lose funds. Personally, this comes down to how much I like Charlie Crist. Since he went to FSU, I'm not a fan. At this point, Crist could tell me the Pope was Catholic and I wouldn't believe him. Let's just get to the endorsement before my FSU hate gets out of hand.

The Endorsement: Push.
Note: The measure needs a 60% supermajority.

See? Wasn't having a civilized exchange of political ideas fun? Hopefully, I didn't upset anyone too much. (Otherwise, this was a horrible mistake.) Remember, we're Gators before we're Democrats or Republicans. That's the most important thing. We will return to our regularly scheduled programming soon. See you at the voting booth. And if you're an independent, you can still vote for Amendment 1.

Here's the State Division of Elections with contact and polling information for each county.