Saturday, May 16, 2015

Florida Republicans Go Winner-Take-All

Truly winner-take-all.

The Republican Party of Florida during a Saturday, May 16 meeting in Orlando voted to change its delegate selection rules, instituting a winner-take-all system of delegate allocation for 2016. During the previous two cycles, Florida was only a truly winner-take-all system by virtue of their early and non-compliant primaries in 2008 and 2012. By rule, Florida Republicans had a winner-take-most (modified winner-take-all by congressional district) allocation method but with one very important caveat. If the national party reduced the delegation in response to a rules violation -- like a non-compliant January primary -- the allocation automatically became truly winner-take-all.

Outside of the proportionality window for 2016 and scheduled in a compliant position on the calendar, Florida Republicans have, as expected, now dropped the trigger mechanism and will allocate all 99 national convention delegates to the statewide winner of the March 15 presidential primary. This removes a small question mark that hovered over the allocation in Florida. The party, without the trigger of the last two cycles, had traditionally split up the allocation between statewide, at-large delegates and congressional district delegates. That will not be the case in 2016:
"With Florida's immense size and diverse population, any campaign that can mount a successful state-wide effort in Florida will be well positioned to run a truly national campaign come 2016," RPOF Chairman Blaise Ingoglia said in a statement. "Florida will now be the first winner-take-all primary in the country, this ensures that all presidential campaigns will have to spend a considerable amount of time in Florida speaking to Republicans from Pensacola to Key West and everywhere in-between."
Chasing after 99 delegates may do that or candidates not named Bush or Rubio may cede the state to the two Floridians -- happy to let one of the two be eliminated if both are still around on March 15 -- in order to focus on midwestern states like Illinois and Missouri (and perhaps Ohio) instead. That will be pretty deep into the calendar by that point. If the caucus state file in ahead of Florida on the calendar, Florida could be the first winner-take-all contest, but in the 25-30 range in the order of overall contests; likely after the 50% delegates allocated point on the calendar. That may or may not allow Florida to be the type of kingmaker that it was with a January presidential primary in both 2008 and 2012.

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