Up in Tallahassee, the Florida Senate this week is scheduled to hash over a proposal that could have some serious consequences for the upcoming 2016 presidential contest. A bill snaking through both houses of the legislature would push back Florida's presidential primary, a move that nicely tees up the state's support for a homegrown candidate like Jeb Bush or Marco Rubio.
Back in 2008, the legislature moved to push the Florida primary up to the earliest possible date. The idea was to get the Sunshine State among those early primaries that hog a lot of attention in the election season, states like Iowa and New Hampshire.
Cutting the line, however, cost Florida. Under the rules of both parties, the state's delegates had to be awarded proportionally to each candidate based on the election returns, not on a winner-take-all scheme. As such, Florida was kind of meh in the eyes of candidates. The state used this schedule in both the 2008 and 2012 elections.
Now, however, Florida pols are rethinking the move. The current proposal -- Senate bill 7036 -- would scoot the primary election date back to March 15. Under that schedule, party rules say Florida would no longer have to cut up the delegates among the primary candidates. Instead, it would go back to winner-take-all.
It's no surprise this is being proposed for 2016. Not only does Florida have one viable candidate; it has two. Either Bush or Rubio would benefit hugely from collecting all of Florida's delegates at once.
The house version of the Florida proposal has already sailed through committee. Today, the senate version of the bill is set to be discussed. It's expected to go by with little resistance.
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