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CHARLESTON, SC - JANUARY 19: Republican presidential candidates (L-R) former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, and U.S. Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) place their hands over their hearts during the playing of the national anthem before a debate at the North Charleston Coliseum January 19, 2012 in Charleston, South Carolina. The debate, hosted by CNN and the Southern Republican Leadership Conference, is the final debate before South Carolina voters head to the polls for their primary January 21. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
You may not be hearing that cheer on the streets of California.
But you should be. Because California voters are more likely to have more of a say in the presidential campaign if Newt Gingrich wins the Florida primary on Tuesday.
California pushed back its primary to June this year -- near the very end of the presidential selection process. That move came in part to save money and in part because moving the primary up to February hadn't given the state the influence it had sought in choosing the nominees of the major parties.
The problem is that, with the primary in June, California may have no influence at all. That's almost certain to be the sad case if former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney wins in Florida -- a triumph that would might help him wrap up the nomination early, well before Californians vote in June.
But if Gingrich wins, a long nomination fight becomes more likely. And a long fight is good for California, since we vote last.
Should it matter if California weighs in on the nominee? Yes. We have the most people. And even though this is a Democratic state, California has millions of Republican voters -- more than any other state, save (in recent yeras) Texas. A race that is decided without California isn't truly a national race.