Jeb Bush & Marco Rubio expected to get zero delegates from Florida


When the big party bosses try and fix things, it doesn't always work out the way they planned. Each state decides how to allocate delegates in the Presidential contest. Some do it proportionately, so if a candidate gets 20% of the vote, he gets 20% of the delegates. Others do it winner-takes-all, so the candidate with a majority, or even a plurality of the vote gets all the delegates.

I'm sure when the GOP party bosses were setting the rules for Florida's presidential primary they thought that since Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush were running, one of them would get the most votes. Therefore, to maximize support for these establishment candidates, they set a winner take all rule in Florida, to prevent a Donald Trump or a Ted Cruz from even getting a fraction of Florida's 99 delegates.

Well, guess what? Donald Trump is leading in Florida by a wide margin. Marco Rubio is in third place and Jeb Bush is a distant fifth, behind Ted Cruz. That means unless things change Trump is expected to get all 99 delegates from Florida in the March 15th primary. A candidate only needs 1237 delegates to win the GOP nomination. That means that with little effort, Trump will get almost 8% of what he needs from Florida alone. That's a lot.

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There’s fresh evidence here of the unthinkable: Florida’s biggest Republican stars, former governor Jeb Bush and Sen. Marco Rubio, run the risk of losing their state’s winner-take-all primary next year to an out-of-state contender.

A loss in their home state could force both Bush and Rubio out of the presidential race after March 15, when Florida and three other states will hold the first winner-take-all primaries.

The contests will come after New Hampshire, Iowa, Nevada and a slate of southern states reward delegates proportionally — probably giving a good number of candidates enough support to keep going. But when Florida votes, the state will award all of its 99 delegates to the winner — enough support to potentially allow the victor to take a commanding lead.

A poll released last week showed businessman Donald Trump with 37 percent of support among GOP voters; former neurosurgeon Ben Carson had 17 percent. Rubio placed third, with 16 percent, followed by Sen. Ted Cruz (Tex.) at 10 percent. Bush earned just 7 percent in the poll conducted by SurveyUSAand Tampa-area television stations.

If Bush or Rubio can't win their home states, they can't win anywhere. I suspect they would pull out before the primary to avoid embarrassment if they couldn't see any prospects of winning.

(Abridged version originally published in AT)



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