Ben Carson Archives - Page 4 of 36 - Florida Politics

Candidates no longer in prez race take 229K votes in primaries; Jeb Bush leads with 88K

For Jeb Bush, his presidential aspirations may be over, but not in the hearts of many of his more strident supporters.

For the primaries and caucuses in 2016, nearly a quarter-million votes have been cast so far for 11 of the 13 Republicans who have already exited the race, including Bush, Ben Carson, Rand Paul and Mike Huckabee.

Dr. Eric Ostermeier of Smart Politics analyzed the first two dozen early GOP contests, finding that more than 229,000 votes – almost 2 percent of all ballots cast – have gone to ex-presidential candidates.

Bush, who left the race Feb. 20, leads the pack with more than 88,000 votes – more than double the votes for any other former candidate. Of the 88,344 votes Bush received in 19 states and territories, 40 percent were taken in Texas on Super Tuesday (35,418), 1.25 percent of all votes cast. He also received 1.8 percent of the vote in Vermont, 1.12 percent in Tennessee and 1.02 percent in Massachusetts.

Although he left the race last week, Carson racked up 37,942 votes, coming in second among the ex-candidates. Smart Politics calculated Carson took 1.75 percent of the vote in Idaho, 1.61 percent in Michigan, 1.51 percent Louisiana and 1.31 percent in Mississippi.

Among the other Republican former candidates, for others received more than 10,000 votes since leaving the campaign trail: Paul with 32,098; Huckabee with 27,141; Chris Christie with 16,013 and Carly Fiorina with 11,484. Huckabee’s best performance was in his home state of Arkansas on Super Tuesday; the state’s former governor took 1.17 percent of the vote.

Other ex-candidates making a showing in the 2016 primaries and caucuses are former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum (8,023) and current South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham (4,481), as well as former Govs. Jim Gilmore of Virginia (1,691), George Pataki of New York (1,691), and Bobby Jindal of Louisiana (219).

As the Florida primary approaches, with many early votes already cast, Bush – a favorite son of Sunshine State Republicans – is sure to boost his polling numbers, thanks to many Floridians who still believe he’s the best candidate for the White House, even if he isn’t actively running.

Ben Carson endorses Donald Trump

Saying that he’s come to see there are two Donald Trumps – the public one, and a “cerebral” private one – Dr. Ben Carson said he likes and admires the private one and gave his endorsement to Trump on Friday, four days before the Florida primary.

The endorsement is yet another blow to the campaign of Florida’s U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, who has been struggling to persuade Floridians to vote for him instead of Trump.

In a clear reference to Florida, the endorsement came in Palm Beach, where both Carson and Trump have homes and stake their claims to being Floridians themselves.

“There are two different Donald Trumps. There’s the one you see on the stage and there’s the one who’s very cerebral, sits there and considers things very carefully,” Carson said. “You could have a very good conversation with him. And that’s the Donald Trump you’re going to see more and more of right now.”

In giving the endorsement, Carson said he and Trump “buried the hatchet,” responding to questions about brutal comments Trump had made against Carson before the neurosurgeon suspended his campaign two weeks ago. And Trump said they had apologized, calling the remarks “just politics.”

“Having his support, it just adds total credence to what I’m trying to do, and what we’re all trying to do,” Trump said, calling Carson a “special man.”

Carson also warned the Republican Party to stop trying to derail Trump’s campaign, saying it was not only decisive but going against the wishes of the people. “That is a particularly dangerous place to be right now,” he said.

“This is all about the people and continues to be all about the people. It’s not about the Republican Party or the Democratic Party, its about the people of America,” he said.

Trump said no offers were made to Carson for a spot as vice president on the ticket or a job in a Trump Cabinet. But both he and Carson vowed to work together if Trump is elected, and Trump spoke at length about how valuable Carson would be advising him on education and health.

Report: Poll says half of Florida GOP voters want Ben Carson to run for U.S. Senate

Five Republicans are in the U.S. Senate race. Yet if you believe a statewide poll released Monday, 56 percent of GOP voters want Ben Carson to jump in.

They would “definitely vote for Carson,” with another 29 percent saying it’s “too soon to say.”

Carson scored over 50 percent in all regions but Northwest Florida on “definitely,” which was at 42 percent, and 48 percent in that region opted for “too soon to say.”

The poll run without Carson had David Jolly leading with 18 percent, and Ron DeSantis at 11 percent in second place. Other candidates were in single digits: Carlos Lopez-Cantera at 9 percent, Todd Wilcox at 7 percent, and Carlos Beruff at 1 percent.

Poll-takers contacted 724 “likely August GOP Primary voters” via landline telephones or smart devices. The margin of error was 3.1 percent in this Survey USA poll.

The Democratic poll was interesting as well, with Patrick Murphy at 27 percent, Alan Grayson at 16 percent, and Pam Keith at 11 percent, with 592 likely Democratic Primary voters participating. The margin of error was 4 percent.

GOP poll has Marco Rubio within striking distance of Donald Trump in Florida

Although Marco Rubio and his camp continue to say that he will win Florida in the winner-take-all GOP presidential primary March 15, there’s been little statistical evidence to date indicating that might be possible.

Until now.

A poll taken by The Tarrance Group released Saturday shows Donald Trump continuing to lead in Florida, but only by 5 percentage points over Rubio, 35.4 percent to 30.3 percent.

Ted Cruz is a distant third at 15.5 percent, and John Kasich is at 8.5 percent.

Ben Carson, who dropped out of the race officially on Friday, is at 4.6 percent.

Who gets those Carson voters is crucial, obviously.

The Tarrance Group, an Alexandria, Virginia-based Republican polling and research firm,  asked voters to list their top three choices. Overall, Rubio received a combined 66.6 percent of combined first, second and third ballots. Trump was next with 54.7 percent, Cruz was at 52.7 percent, and Kasich fourth with 40.8 percent.

The poll indicates that there’s certainly time for Rubio to catch up to Trump. While over 56 percent of those polled have already decided on their candidate, 23.5 percent say they are still looking at several candidates.

The survey also gives credence to those who claim that Trump’s appeal, while more than any other Republican running this year, caps at below 40 percent. When asked whether they would never vote for Trump, 32.4 percent agreed with that statement, with 29.4 percent saying they “strongly” held that opinion.

The poll contains the results of a telephone survey of 800 registered “likely” Republican primary voters in the state of Florida. Responses to the survey were gathered Monday through Wednesday.

The Our Principles PAC commissioned the poll, a Super PAC created to bring down Donald Trump. It was founded Katie Packer, a veteran Republican strategist who was deputy campaign manager of Mitt Romney’s 2012 presidential campaign.

Last week the group hired former Jeb Bush spokesman Tim Miller to be its communications adviser.

Ben Carson spent heavy on consultants, light on 2016 campaigning

Ben Carson ran for president, and his consultants won.

The political newcomer who said this week he sees “no path” to the Republican nomination raised more money than any other GOP contender, $58 million since he began his bid last May.

But Carson’s campaign burned through much more of that money on fundraising and consultants than on mass media advertising, on-the-ground employees and other things that could have swayed voters, a review of his campaign finance reports found.

Carson’s campaign is an extreme example of the big-money business of presidential politics. The candidate himself, a soft-spoken retired Baltimore neurosurgeon, has wondered aloud whether his campaign aides were taking advantage of him.
He employed “people who didn’t really seem to understand finances,” Carson said in a CNN interview last week. And then he added: “Or maybe they did. Maybe they were doing it on purpose.”

Some people who worked with Carson’s presidential campaign are positioned to continue profiting from his elevated profile even after he officially ends his bid.

All told, the Carson campaign turned over at least one-quarter of the money it raised — $16 million — to fundraising and marketing firms owned by a pair of his top consultants, Mike Murray and Ken Dawson.

By contrast, the Carson campaign’s payroll for nine months cost less than $700,000, finance documents show, and the campaign spent less than $600,000 on television and radio advertising during the month that voting has taken place, according to advertising tracker Kantar Media’s Campaign Media Analysis Group.

Murray has been a senior adviser to the campaign, owns TMA Direct and is managing partner of Precision Data Management, firms that provide fundraising services for direct mail and email to voters and broker lists of would-be supporters.

Dawson has been Carson’s unofficial chief marketing officer and owner of Eleventy Marketing. That company uses Facebook, Twitter and other social media to place digital advertising and raise money for its clients.

Murray and Dawson say the payments to their firms do not give a full picture of all the work they did — transforming a candidate with 50 percent name recognition among likely Republican voters into one nearly universally known now.

“We had the task of building the Carson brand along with raising money,” Murray said. “Everything we did netted money.”

Payments to TMA and other firms did not all go into the consultants’ pockets, he said. Much of it paid for postage, printing and other costs associated with fundraising. Dawson also said much of the $10 million paid to his company went right back out to pay for digital advertising and social media promotion.

“It allowed us to connect directly to people and to help identify people the message was resonating with,” Dawson said, noting that his company’s efforts “garnered the revenue that drove the apparatus.”

He said every payment to Eleventy was approved by Carson’s campaign managers and audited by campaign staff.

Carson plans to lay out his next moves in a speech Friday to the Conservative Political Action Conference in suburban Maryland. He has vowed to continue his “grassroots movement,” which includes his 700,000 campaign donors, the majority of whom gave $200 or less.

That could mean a return to the American Legacy Political Action Committee, a group that already has substantial crossover with the Carson campaign; in fact, Murray is its founder. Before beginning his presidential bid, Carson was the face of an American Legacy PAC project on health care.

Carson’s longtime confidant and off-the-books campaign guru, Armstrong Williams, took over Carson’s American Legacy PAC chairmanship and said he would encourage him to come back to the group, which he called a “natural” move.

“It gives him a platform,” Williams said. “Why start something new when you already have something in place?”

American Legacy PAC appears to do little more than raise money to pay people raising money.

Despite its mission of helping conservative candidates, the group reported giving less than 3 percent of the $10 million it raised in the past five years to political candidates and political committees, a review of Federal Election Commission reports shows.

Murray said American Legacy’s impact on politics isn’t fully reflected in its FEC filings, in part because the group encourages donors to give directly to candidates it supports. He said those candidates have netted “hundreds of thousands of dollars,” which American Legacy PAC has tracked through software.

The cost of all that fundraising is laid out in FEC documents.

American Legacy PAC has paid Williams’ production company more than $170,000 in the past two years. American Legacy PAC also paid Murray’s companies nearly $400,000 since its establishment in 2010. And it paid Dawson’s Eleventy about $30,000, which he said paid for building a website.

More than half of American Legacy PAC’s budget was eaten up by the telemarketing company Infocision. Carson’s campaign also paid the company almost $5 million.

Republished with permission of the Associated Press.

Viewer’s Guide: GOP debate about Donald Trump vs. everyone else

And then there were four.

Ben Carson‘s departure from the GOP presidential race means the quartet of remaining Republicans on the debate stage Thursday night get more time for attacks as Donald Trump treads a path to the GOP nomination and his three rivals try to trip him up. Cheered on by many Republican leaders, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio and John Kasich are racing the primary clock to March 15, likely their last chance to stop Trump in a series of winner-take-all contests.

Some things to watch Thursday night as the candidates meet at 9 p.m. EST for the Fox News Channel debate in Detroit:

HE WHO WAS NOT NAMED

Love him or loathe him, Trump has taught the poohbahs of the Republican Party what a power grab really is — and he’s done it by winning over large swaths of the GOP’s own core supporters far from Washington. His wobbling over whether to disavow the support of former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke finally gave the Republican leaders of Congress a way to go after the billionaire publicly — without uttering Trump’s name. Trump responded by saying House Speaker Paul Ryan would have to get along with a President Trump or pay some sort of “big price.” On the eve of the debate, Ryan’s office confirmed that Trump’s campaign had contacted the speaker’s staff in a first sign of outreach. Notably, Trump has started talking about unifying the GOP. Look for Trump to be asked about the existential rift in the party and how he expects to govern.

___

RUBIO, RUDE? TRUMP, TOO?

The Florida senator who once insisted on staying above the scuffling has leapt right into it, emulating Trump’s schoolyard-taunting style.

At campaign events in the past week, Rubio made sometimes crude jokes about everything from Trump’s tan to the size of his hands — he even suggested that the billionaire wet his pants at the last debate. Look for whether a newly confident Rubio, emboldened by his first primary win in Minnesota Tuesday, keeps it up or takes a more statesmanlike approach.

And what to expect from Trump? “I can’t act overly presidential because I’m going to have people attacking from every side. A very good man, Ben Carson’s not there anymore, so now we’re going to have more time for the fighting,” he said. “When people are hitting you from different angles, from all different angles, unfortunately you have to hit back. I would have a very, very presidential demeanor when I win, but until such time, you have to hit back,” he told NBC on Thursday.

___

CRUZ’S STAND

Thanks to Rubio’s win Tuesday, Cruz can no longer say he’s the only Republican who has shown he can beat Trump. But he won three states on Super Tuesday — Alaska, Oklahoma and his home state of Texas. And the delegate math shows that Cruz is emerging as the candidate who might stop Trump. Look for some confidence from Cruz, because on Super Tuesday alone he came close to Trump. For the night, Trump won at least 237 delegates and Cruz won at least 209. Rubio was a distant third with at least 94.

Even Sen. Lindsey Graham, who a week earlier joked at a dinner about killing Cruz, acknowledged on CBS that the Texas senator might be the party’s best hope to beat Trump.

___

KASICH, STILL

The debate setting is likely most helpful to Ohio Gov. John Kasich, who is looking for a strong showing in Michigan in the state’s March 8 contest, to survive.

__

FOX AND TRUMP, FRENEMIES

Trump has uttered barely a peep about the fact that Fox News Channel is hosting the debate, and that his sometime-nemesis Megyn Kelly, is one of the moderators.

This is a marked change from the upheaval that led to Trump boycotting Fox’s debate just before the leadoff Iowa caucuses. Trump had demanded that Kelly be removed; Fox refused and Trump headed a few miles away to host his own event.

He later said that could have been one of the reasons he lost Iowa to Cruz.

Trump has not tweeted about Kelly in weeks. In an interview with the Associated Press this week, Kelly said she thinks Trump has more confidence now.

“He knows he can handle me. He can handle any interviewer,” she said.

___

TRUMP UNIVERSITY

How good is a degree from Trump University? “Worthless” — as are his promises — according to former GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney. Romney will brand the billionaire businessman as “a phony, a fraud” in a Salt Lake City speech on Thursday, as party of a push by GOP establishment figures to paint the billionaire as unfit to represent the party. Trump should have a few things to say about it. He already started slugging on Thursday morning, saying that Romney “begged” him for his endorsement four years ago, and called him a “failed candidate.”

___

REMEMBER BEN CARSON?

Kelly said he wouldn’t have gotten much attention even if he had stuck around for the debate. Fox will concentrate its questions on Trump, Cruz and Marco Rubio — making for potentially awkward moments for Kasich.

Republished with permission of the Associated Press.

After Super Tuesday, cold hard delegate math

Presidential candidates will wake up Wednesday morning to the cold, hard truth of delegate math. It might give the front-runners some breathing room, but for the rest of the field, the truth may hurt.

What to watch for on the day after Super Tuesday doles out a quarter of all the delegates at stake in the GOP and Democratic nominating contests:

THE TALLY: With 12 states awarding delegates, see how the delegate totals stack up when the dust settles.

With some delegates still to be allocated, Donald Trump had won at least 192 Super Tuesday delegates and Ted Cruz at least 132. Marco Rubio had won at least 66 delegates, John Kasich 19 and Ben Carson three. There were 595 GOP delegates at stake in 11 states.

Overall, Trump led with 274 delegates, Cruz 149, Rubio 82. It takes 1,237 delegates to win the Republican nomination for president.

On the Democratic side, Clinton was assured of winning at least 457 of the 865 delegates at stake on Super Tuesday. Sanders was sure to get at least 286. Including superdelegates, Clinton had at least 1,005 delegates. Sanders had at least 373. It takes 2,383 Democratic delegates to win.

GENERALLY SPEAKING: Watch how front-runners Clinton and Trump position themselves going forward. Do they focus more on their primary election rivals or pivot toward an anticipated general election matchup? Trump said Tuesday night that if Clinton hadn’t straightened out Washington by now “she isn’t going to straighten it out in the next four years.” Clinton, in turn, criticized what she called the angry, divisive rhetoric from the Republican front-runner, though she did not name him.

THE B-WORD: Trump’s strong showing could generate fresh talk about the possibility of a brokered convention from Republicans who just can’t get on board with the idea of Trump as the eventual GOP nominee.

RUBIO’S ROAD: Rubio’s itinerary reflects his priorities. He campaigns Wednesday in Michigan, which votes March 8. And he’s already putting big effort into his home state of Florida, which votes with a number of winner-take-all-delegates states on March 15. Early voting already has started in Florida, and Rubio put his focus there on Tuesday night, saying, “two weeks from tonight, right here in Florida, we are going to send a message loud and clear.”

CRUZ’S COURSE: Watch for a more assertive Cruz, rejuvenated by victories in his home state of Texas and neighboring Oklahoma. On Tuesday night, he urged the other GOP candidates to “prayerfully consider coming together” and uniting against Trump. Translation: Get out of the race.

GOP SOUL-SEARCHING: Keep an eye on how the GOP establishment does — or doesn’t — reconcile itself to Trump. In the run-up to Tuesday’s mega-round of voting, some establishment figures were vowing they’d never, ever support Trump; others were reluctantly pledging to fall in line behind the eventual nominee, whoever it is.

AM NOT, DID TOO: The rhetoric in the GOP race took a turn for the worse before Super Tuesday, featuring a series of taunts between Trump and Rubio about potential pants-wetting, bad spray tans and overactive sweat glands. Do the candidates elevate the conversation once Tuesday’s big vote is past?

SANDERS’ STAND: Sanders, looking for more places to shine after wins in Oklahoma, Colorado, Minnesota and his home state of Vermont, was ready to campaign Wednesday in Maine and Michigan, where he hopes his populist message will resonate with union and blue-collar voters. And his campaign strategists scheduled a “path forward” breakfast to lay out his intended route to the nomination.

ENTHUSIASM GAP? Check out final turnout figures from Tuesday. The first two primary states to vote — New Hampshire and South Carolina — turned out record numbers of Republican, but not Democratic, voters. If that trend continues, it could have implications for the general election.

AIR WARS: Expect to see lots of Trump thumping in the next two weeks. Ahead of Super Tuesday, anti-Trump ads outnumbered pro-Trump commercials nearly 3-to-1. That ratio is likely to grow. Three outside groups, Our Principles, American Future Fund and Club for Growth, have laid plans for millions of dollars in new Trump attack ads. Conservative Solutions, a super political action committee backing Rubio — and blasting Trump — has reserved $6 million of ad time for in the soon-to-vote states of Michigan, Illinois, Missouri and Florida. On the Democratic side, Clinton and Sanders both continue their campaign advertising. From the looks of the ad reservations, Sanders is betting big on Michigan, spending more than two-thirds of future ad money there,

Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump cemented as 2016 leaders

Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump, emboldened by commanding victories Tuesday across large swaths of the country, are beginning to focus on each other in the race for the White House.

Clinton previewed a “love and kindness” message while Trump traded his typical rollicking rallies for a sober media conference where he pressed his case that Clinton is a proven failure as a longtime politician.

Both spoke from Florida, where the general election is often won or lost. That wasn’t one of the dozen states that weighed in on a day known as Super Tuesday because it’s the busiest of the 2016 primary season.

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz won his home state, Oklahoma and Alaska, buttressing his out-of-the-gate win in the Iowa caucuses a month ago, while Florida Sen. Marco Rubio notched his first victory, in Minnesota.
“Our campaign is the only campaign that has beaten, that can beat, and that will beat Donald Trump,” Cruz thundered to supporters gathered at the wood-paneled Redneck Country Club in Stafford, Texas.

Still, he’d been counting on more appeal in the Southern states and among evangelical Christian voters. Trump, who dubs his surging campaign the “Trump Train,” has derailed those plans.

Rubio and the other Republicans still in the race, John Kasich and Ben Carson, struggled Tuesday to convey optimism even as they vowed to fight on.

Simple math reinforces a bind for the Republicans who reject Trump, as the brash billionaire businessman carried seven states and continues to barrel toward the 1,237 delegates needed to secure the GOP nomination.

Trump won at least 203 delegates Tuesday. Cruz collected at least 144 delegates and Rubio picked up at least 71. Overall, Trump leads with 285 delegates; Cruz has 161, Rubio has 87, Kasich has 25 and Carson has eight. It takes 1,237 delegates to win the GOP nomination.

Increasingly, leading Republicans talk of a contested convention in July as their best remaining option for stopping Trump, whose divisive rhetoric about immigrants and ethnic and religious groups has some fearing a GOP wipeout in November.

Like Cruz, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders was victorious in his home state.

He also picked up victories in Oklahoma, Minnesota and Colorado, and he assured supporters he’d take his fight to “every one” of the remaining contests. With a staggering $42 million raised in February alone, Sanders has the campaign cash to do just that — though Clinton is well on her way to the 2,383 delegates needed on the Democratic side.

Tuesday’s results left little doubt as to the front-runners in the race.

Clinton collected wins in seven states, and Trump swept up victories in seven, including Virginia, another important general election battleground.

She is assured of winning at least 457 of the 865 delegates at stake Tuesday. Sanders will gain at least 286. When including party leaders, Clinton has at least 1,005 delegates, and Sanders has at least 373.

Clinton held on to older voters and strongly prevailed among Hispanics and African-Americans, according to exit polls conducted for The Associated Press and television networks by Edison Research. Trump, a political newcomer, pulled in two-thirds of voters looking to install an outsider in the White House, while GOP voters seeking an experienced candidate were split between Rubio and Cruz, both first-term senators.

Speaking from his gold-flecked Mar-a-Lago resort, Trump asserted that his candidacy is a “movement” and that he is expanding the Republican Party even as many of its leaders have distanced themselves from him.

A moment after Trump professed to have good relationships with his party’s elite; he issued a warning to House Speaker Paul Ryan, who had declared earlier Tuesday that “this party does not prey on people’s prejudices.” Trump said that if the two don’t get along, Ryan is “going to have to pay a big price.”

One way Trump claimed he would unify the party was by training his fire on Clinton.

He said she should be disqualified from even running for office because she broke from government protocol by using a private email server while she was secretary of state.

Clinton tried to turn Trump’s “Make America Great Again” slogan on its head, saying the country instead must be made “whole again.”

“What we need in America today is more love and kindness,” she said. “Instead of building walls, we’re going to break down barriers and build ladders of opportunity and empowerment.”

Trump ridiculed her comments. “She’s been there for so long,” he said. “If she hasn’t straightened it out by now, she’s not going to straighten it out in the next four years.”

Rubio said his supporters would never rally around Trump. He and Kasich showed little sign of relenting, especially with their home states of Florida and Ohio voting on March 15.

“We are so excited about what lies ahead for our campaign,” Rubio said at his Tuesday night rally in Miami, his hometown. “You see, just five days ago we began to unmask the true nature of the front-runner in this race.”

He portrayed his attacks on Trump as having an impact already, though that wasn’t evident in Super Tuesday’s results.

“Two weeks from tonight right here in Florida,” Rubio said, “we are going to send a message loud and clear: The party of Lincoln and Reagan will never be held by a con artist.”

Republished with permission of the Associated Press.

Report says Ben Carson has been urged to seek Florida’s U.S. Senate seat

The book-tour presidential campaign of Ben Carson limps along, even as his campaign chairman floated stories of a frightening quid pro quo that could effect Florida Republican voters.

In exchange for getting out of the race, Carson campaign chairman Bob Dees contends unnamed “billionaires” promised support for Carson pursuing the GOP Senate nomination from Florida.

“That’s been very tangible. It’s been several … two groups of billionaire types of folks that have pressured him,” Dees told the Washington Examiner Tuesday.

“People that drive super PAC activity and other endeavors and there was even discussion of a, well, we can help with the Florida [U.S.] Senate seat if he’ll just agree to do what we’d like you to do or support our guy, drop out, etc,” Dees said.

Such “help” likely would come as a surprise to David JollyRon DeSantisCarlos Lopez-CanteraTodd Wilcox, and Carlos Beruff, and their supporters and staff.

Kevin Cate: How Marco Rubio could win Florida with Donald Trump at 40 percent

There is a reason Marco Rubio is acting like Donald Trump.

Math.

If you believe averages of Real Clear Politics (RCP), with 306,619 GOP mail votes cast, Trump, polling at 40.3 percent, is dominating Rubio, polling at 20.8 percent, at 123,566 to 63,776 mail votes.

Let’s assume turnout pops and 2,000,000 Republicans vote in the primary here, that’s 15.3 percent of the ballot already locked down.

So let’s talk about the remaining 1,693,381 votes up for grabs.

If Trump maintains his 40 percent, Rubio would need to win ~ 43.5 percent of all outstanding votes from this morning through Election Day (736,224 +1).

In 2012, Mitt Romney, with all the momentum in the world, was only RCP averaging about 42 percent of the vote right before Election Day and ended up winning 46.4 percent of all votes counted. But stay with me.

With current RCP averages Ted Cruz, Jeb Bush (I know), Ben Carson, John Kasich, and “other” are pulling about 585,909 or 35 percent of the outstanding votes. To cobble together a winning number, Rubio would need to draw about 65 percent from all of these outstanding votes.

Add in the extra 4.3 percent (72,815 outstanding) not in RCP average (undecided or other, presumably), and he needs to pull a healthy 58 percent (or thereabouts) of current RCP non-Trump outstanding votes.

But, we all know that’s just not going to happen.

Kasich isn’t going anywhere until Ohio, so strip away 84,669 (5 percent) outstanding votes. Carson, depending on his laundry situation, will pull in at least 4 percent, so throw 67,735 votes in the crazy bin, in 2012, 1.3 percent of Floridians voted for a suspended campaign or other — there go another 22,013 votes.

That’s 174,417 outstanding votes entirely unavailable to Rubio.

Which leaves Cruz and his 267,554 (15.8 percent RCP) projected outstanding votes. If, by some miracle, Cruz loses Texas tonight, and every single one of his voters go to Rubio from today on, that would still only get Rubio to 683,553, or 116,448 short of his win number with Trump maintaining his 40 percent.

Throw Rubio the bonus 4.3 percent not in RCP average, and he still loses by 43,633.

All of this should feel eerily familiar to Marco Rubio. Trump’s people are basically his people from 2010. Rubio is being Marco “Rubioed” by Trump.

So, there is a how for Rubio with Trump at 40 percent, but it’s also impossible.

Rubio needs Trump voters. And that is why he’s embarrassing himself on TV.

But it won’t work.

Donald Trump will win Florida’s GOP primary March 15.

***

Kevin Cate owns CateComm.com, a public relations firm, and is a media adviser to former Gov. Charlie Crist. You can reach him at kevin@catecomm.com.

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