Ron Paul's presidential campaign took a look at the math and the campaign map and decided Florida just isn't worth it, Politico reports.
Campaign chairman Jesse Benton said it would cost about $9 million for Paul to be competitive. And that was too much for 50 delegates. A candidate needs 1,150 to win the nomination. Florida would have had 100 delegates, but it lost half because the Legislature made the primary early, on Jan. 31. So Florida was penalized by the Republican National Committee.
"It’s such an expensive state, and with their delegates cut in half, the math just doesn’t make any sense,” Benton said, according to Poliico. “We’re a delegate-focused campaign. We’re focused on winning the 1,150 delegates to secure the nomination. And the amount of resources and time it would take to compete for those 50 delegates just didn’t make sense to us.”
In a puzzling twist, Benton said the campaign wouldn't be advertising or mailing Republicans. But it already sent out mailers to Florida Republicans who requested absentee ballots.
Paul's decision to skip Florida is the first sign that Florida's decision to buck RNC rules might have hurt the state's prestige, rather than help it. It's also a sign that Paul's campaign, run by amateurs, can make professional decisions. After all, Paul would probably lose the state even if it had 100 delegates. Florida is an elderly state, and the elderly don't seem to like their fellow geriatric, who has become a youth phenom in some states.
This isn't the death knell of Paul's campaign. Mike Huckabee in 2008 essentially skipped Florida, which killed Mitt Romney's campaign and essentially made John McCain the Republican nominee. Huckabee stuck around through the Super Tuesday states and was the last major GOP candidate to bow out.
Does skipping Florida mean a candidate can't win in November? Nope. In 2008, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton refused to campaign here due to Democratic National Committee rules that penalized Florida for having an early primary. Obama lost to Clinton. And McCain won the state in his primary. But Obama won here in the general election.