U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio persuaded state lawmakers to make a last-minute change eliminating Florida’s early presidential primary – a race in which the Republican could be on the ballot. Rubio’s main concern was shared by lawmakers and operatives from both parties: Ensuring that Florida’s 2016 primary vote counts. The measure, barely discussed, was tucked in an election-reform bill that passed the Legislature by wide margins Friday. Right now, the Sunshine State’s early primary violates Democratic and Republican national party rules, which penalizes the state by severely devaluing the vote of its delegation to nominate each party’s presidential candidate.
Florida Republicans, for instance, would only have 12 delegates instead of 99 if the state kept its early primary in January or early February.
“We would go from being the third-largest delegation to being the smallest,” said Todd Reid, state director for Rubio.
Asked about Rubio’s potential bid for president in 2016, Reid said the changes had nothing to do with the senator’s political future and noted that Democrats support the changes as much, if not more, than Republicans.
The Democratic penalties are even worse than the GOP’s. If the state has an early primary, none of the Democrats’ delegates would count in 2016, nor did they in 2008.