Giuliani said Florida will be an important state in the 2008 presidential election.
(CNN)–Telling his audience "I think Florida is enormously important," former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani asked for the support of voters at a town hall meeting in Estero, Florida on Saturday. "You were critical in the 2000 election, you were real important in the 2004 election," the GOP presidential hopeful said.
Giuliani then joked about the current state of uncertainty surrounding the Democratic party vote in the state. "This time you're going to be even more important because you've got a primary on January 29. And unlike the Democrats, I'm not going to boycott Florida." he said to a round of applause. "In fact, I'm encouraging them to boycott Florida for the whole year. I think if Florida goes too fast for the Democrats, and they're not going to participate in the Florida primary, I think they should really teach you a lesson and not participate in the general election."
This week, two of Florida's top Democrats in Congress, Sen. Bill Nelson, and Rep. Alcee Hastings, announced they would take legal action against the national Democratic party, after the party said it would sanction the Florida Democrtaic party for moving its presidential primary contest to January 29. That violated Democratic party rules which only allow Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, and South Carolina, to hold their primary contests before February 5. The national party voted to punish Florida Democrats by refusing to seat the state's 210 delegates at the national convention in Denver next summer.
Last month, most of the Democratic presidential candidates signed a pledge to not campaign in Florida if the state's Democratic party went ahead with plans to hold their primary before February 5.
In his remarks, Giuliani recalled watching the 2000 Florida recall process on television while recovering from treatments for prostate cancer.
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- CNN Political Desk Editor Jamie Crawford