TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) –
Seeking to make Florida more “meaningful” in choosing a Republican presidential nominee, the Senate on Wednesday gave final approval to moving back the date of the state’s presidential primary elections.
Senators, with little debate, unanimously backed a bill (HB 7035) that passed the House last week. It now goes to Gov. Rick Scott.
The bill would lead to the presidential primaries being held on the third Tuesday in March, which would be March 15 in 2016. Under current law, next year’s primaries would be on March 1.
The change would allow the Republican Party of Florida to make its primary winner-take-all under the national GOP’s rules. Those rules require states that vote before March 15 in 2016 to allocate delegates proportionally. States that wait until March 15 can award all of their delegates to the winning candidate — a potential bonanza in a large state like Florida that could particularly help former Gov. Jeb Bush or U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio if they are seeking the GOP presidential nomination next year.
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