Under pressure to quit, Marco Rubio says he’s ‘not dropping out of race’
But that was before Republicans here even dreamed of – or had nightmares about – businessman and reality TV star Donald Trump possibly winning the state. It was before Bush went from front-runner to dropout and Rubio began losing whatever momentum he had after poor debate performances. Now the very plan to wrap up the nomination for a favorite son could be the one that kills his campaign.
“There’s no question that the decisions that were made were made to benefit the two main Florida sons — Bush and Rubio,” said Joe Gruters, vice chair of the Republican Party of Florida and co-chair of Trump’s Florida campaign. “I’m sure they weren’t expecting the Trump movement to be so strong. This is exactly the opposite of what they wanted. Instead of giving a crushing blow to everybody else, it’s delivering a crushing blow to the very people it was meant to help the most.”
Florida defied the national GOP in 2008 and 2012 and held its presidential primary on the last Tuesday in January in an effort to push its candidate of choice forward before most other states voted. It worked. Florida helped propel Sen. John McCain and former Massachusetts Gov. #Mitt Romney to nomination in those years.
But Florida was faced with losing all its delegates if it broke national party rules again, and in 2013 the Legislature moved the primary date to the first Tuesday in March. Last year, as Rubio and Bush were preparing to run, the Legislature voted to move the date again to make the contest winner-take-all, which the state GOP approved after Gov. Rick Scott signed the bill into law.
That was the thinking when the GOP-dominated Legislature changed the state’s primary date to the third Tuesday in March — the earliest date it could hold an election that will award all 99 Republican delegates to one candidate.
In a town hall meeting on Wednesday night on The Kelly File, with Fox News Host Megyn Kelly, Rubio maintained that he would not drop out of the race before Florida’s primary – despite reports that he was thinking about it.
Also published on Medium.