ORLANDO, Fla. -- State Republican party leaders today will decide when Florida will hold its presidential primary.
State Senator John Thrasher of St. Augustine is on the ten-person panel that will select a date. Some GOP leaders want Florida to be the fifth state in the nation when it comes to choosing a presidential nominee. That means a primary date before February 28th.
All the Republican presidential contenders are in Orlando this weekend for Saturday's straw poll where party delegates will decide who they believe is the front runner.
On Thursday night the candidates participated in a national debate. Issues like Social Security and health care got attention. Another hot button issue was immigration.
Mitt Romney and Rick Perry are considered the front runners, and each took verbal stabs at the other on the issue of immigration and Texas' policy regarding college tuition for illegal aliens.
"To go to the University of Texas if you are an illegal alien you get an in-state tuition discount. You know how much that is, it's $22,000 a year," said Romney, standing next to Texas Governor Rick Perry.
"If you say we should not educate children who come into our state for no other reason then they have been brought there by no fault of their own, I don't think you have a heart," was Perry's response.
On Friday, the Republican presidential candidates will participate in a forum before the influential Conservative Political Action Conference.
The straw poll on Saturday involves 3,500 delegates casting votes on who they believe should be the party's nominee.
First Coast News