The Republican Party of Florida is considering requiring all Republican presidential candidates to
show up at a November conference or be tossed from the ballot. sign their qualifying papers in person. Yeb! opposes this.
Yes, backroom politics can be ugly, but the reasons for this move are what interest me. Let’s look at some history of the RPOF, first.
Earlier in the year, the RPOF pushed through a rule change that made Florida a winner-take-all state. Some have thought this was a gift to Yeb. However, if so, then there’s some concern by the RPOF that Yeb! just doesn’t take Florida seriously. Or is this just Kabuki theater? Either way, isn’t it strange that a former FL gov would oppose being in Florida? Shouldn’t it be no big deal to carve out two days on his schedule to be in the state? They are giving him plenty of notice.
Perhaps they suspect that Yeb! isn’t running well in FL and so is spending his time and money elsewhere. Let’s see.
According to Inside Government, Bush is raising his money from four places: Florida, Texas, California, and the Northeast (NY, CT, etc). Florida predominates, but Florida doesn’t dominate in his tour schedule. Also, Rubio polling higher than Bush doesn’t help either.
What the RPOF giveth, the RPOF taketh away? Would the RPOF really toss Bush off the ballot, even if this measure was passed? I doubt it. They’re not that conservative to abide by their own rules if it meant Bush not getting Florida’s 29 electoral votes.
More likely, this is yet another attempt to narrow the field by making campaigning more expensive and complicated by requiring all the candidates be in a particular place and time. The Sunshine conference does not threaten Bush, as he has raised over $100 million. Other major players I doubt will be affected, either. It’s just another hoop to jump through, and those hoops add up.
I think Bush is opposing this as political theater and the rule will go through because it makes things difficult for outsider candidates. I wonder what else is happening that weekend?
[Edit: I stand by my original gut feeling in why this is being done. An opinion by the RPOF chair here makes sense, and I think it is actually a good idea to take the power out of the party leader’s hands, but if it were only qualifying papers, they could be signed at any time. No, there are other currents in these waters. ]