Florida will be (as it has been) a pivotal state in the 2016 general election. Its 29 electoral votes will loom large in the race to reach 270—but how much will it matter in the GOP primary? With Florida favorites Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio expected to compete for most of the votes, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker (who has yet to officially declare his candidacy) has left the door open to skipping the Florida primary:
Speaking to conservative radio host Laura Ingraham, Walker said if he does jump in the 2016 race, “I don’t think there’s a state out there we wouldn’t play in.”
“Other than, maybe, Florida, where Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio are … in some of the polls, essentially tied,” he said, naming the former governor and current senator who are headed down a collision course in their home state’s primary this cycle.
You can listen to the audio here:
Walker may have a point, but it seems kind of odd that he would announce something like this with nearly eight months before the first primary in 2016. In addition, the schedule is different this time around:
Florida played a pivotal role in the 2012 GOP nominating contest, giving Mitt Romney a boost that solidified his frontrunner status in the nominating fight. The state’s 2016 primary is scheduled for much later, in mid-March, the earliest date allowed by the Republican National Committee for states to allocate its delegates on a winner-take-all basis.
In 2012 the primary was on January 31. This year it is on March 15. Primaries often become a matter of momentum and Walker can’t say for sure Jeb or Rubio will still be in the race by March 15, 2016.
Why concede anything at this point? Voters are drawn to candidates who project confidence (not arrogance) and this makes it look like Walker doesn’t want to waste time. Also, knowing how the press reacts, Walker will now have to face questions about this.
In addition, what will Florida voters think? They’re fickle, and Walker’s comments could be construed as, “I’m not going to bother.”
Time will tell. That said, the race is still at a very early stage. Walker should concern himself more with the short term and worry about Florida when he sees what the field looks like at the end of January.DONATE
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