Monday, March 23, 2015

Bush Involved in Recent Florida Presidential Primary Legislation?

This is interesting. From Lee Fang at The Intercept:
State Representative Matt Gaetz wrote to Bush on January 2nd that he is “concerned that Florida’s current primary date will lead to proportional allocation of delegates” and that a “winner take all” system would be preferable. 
“Unless you ask me otherwise, I’ll file legislation to move our primary date back a week,” Gaetz told Bush, who responded to say that his political advisor Sally Bradshaw would give Gaetz a call. “10 4,” Gaetz shot back. [Emphasis FHQ's]
Fang couches this exchange as coordination between Jeb Bush and the Florida legislature. Maybe, but there are a few things that cast some doubt on that assertion.

First, given the RNC penalty structure, the date of the Florida primary under the 2013 law was a bit unclear. That was not a new issue in 2015.

Secondly, Rep. Gaetz did not actually sponsor the legislation that came out of the Florida House and was subsequently signed into law. That plus the fact that the action the state legislator calls for in the email did not match with what some in Florida interpreted as the move in the recently passed legislation.1

In any event, Florida Republicans have historically had some form or fashion of winner-take-all or winner-take-most delegate allocation rules. Neither that, nor the fact that Florida Republicans wanted to extend that tradition should come as a surprise. It would likely have been true with or without Bush or Rubio eyeing runs at the White House.

But the thing is Rubio was involved in the 2013 law change that initially brought Florida back under compliance with the Republican National Committee rules. That was clearer than this exchange.

1 Some interpreted the presidential primary law change as affecting a two week change from March 1 to March 15.

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