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A March 1 date for Florida’s presidential primary?

A Southern Super Tuesday could emerge as seven states are considering aligning voting dates in the 2016 presidential primary calendar.

If that happens, Beth Reinhard of the Wall Street Journal believes what follows could become a focal point the battle for the Republican nomination.

A Southern Super Tuesday could emerge as seven states are considering aligning voting dates in the 2016 presidential primary calendar.

If that happens, Beth Reinhard of the Wall Street Journal believes what follows could become a focal point the battle for the Republican nomination.

Georgia is considering holding its regional primary on March 1 next year, possibly joining Texas and Florida.

Those states not in the south could also hold elections that day.

Holding primaries on the same day in two of the nation’s most populous states, could boost candidates with significant budgets to afford major media markets and have a connection with the region, including Floridians like former Gov. Jeb Bush and Sen. Marco Rubio, as well as Gov. Rick Perry and Sen. Ted Cruz from Texas.

Bush and Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, another possible candidate, have ties to Texas, a definite advantage.

For others, winning earlier (and less-expensive) races in Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada could then become more important. Reinhard notes that those are states officially sanctioned by national parties to kick off the nominating process.

Voting on March 1 in Texas will probably be the biggest change from 2012, after a court battle over redistricting put the Lone Star State at the bottom of the nominating process.

“Texas will be the 800-pound gorilla in 2016,” said Texas Republican Chair Steve Munisteri in a Journal interview. “It’s a big, early prize, and it will put a premium on those that have name recognition in the state, money, and a political base.”

Florida was the most noticeable rebel in the last two presidential contests. In 2012, after scheduling its primary for Jan. 31, the RNC took away half the state’s delegates, giving them secondary status at the national convention held in Tampa, its own turf.

“Our priority is making sure we have all of our delegates, and that all those delegates go to whomever our grass roots chooses,” Florida Republican Party Chair Leslie Dougher tells the Journal. “We are going to be a powerful force in choosing our party’s nominee in 2016.”

Scheduling primaries and caucuses could become more relevant in a crowded GOP primary field. The issue would not be as important to Democrats since Hillary Clinton is the favorite by far.

After 2012, the RNC set new rules for primaries, with the goal of preventing a protracted nominating process that helped, in part, to weaken Mitt Romney as he moved into the general election.

The earliest authorized contests this election cycle — Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada – are in February, instead of January. The Republican National Convention could be as early as June, rather than August. The RNC also bumped up penalties for states that schedule primary before March.

A Southern Super Tuesday could also give advantages to former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum, winner of the 2012 primaries in Mississippi, Alabama, and Tennessee primaries. Huckabee and Ben Carson, another potential candidate, own homes in Florida, another benefit.

Written By

Phil Ammann is a St. Petersburg-based journalist, editor and blogger. With more than three decades of writing, editing, reporting and management experience, Phil produced content for both print and online, in addition to founding several specialty websites, including HRNewsDaily.com. His broad range included covering news, local government and entertainment reviews for Patch.com, technical articles, and profiles for BetterRVing Magazine as well as advice columns for a metaphysical website, among others. Phil has served as editor and production manager for Extensive Enterprises Media since 2013 and lives in St. Pete with his wife, visual artist Margaret Juul. He can be reached at phil.ammann@gmail.com.

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