Leave it to Florida to host the best political soap opera of the presidential campaign.
The mega-state that all but delivered the Republican nomination to Mitt Romney in 2012 and John McCain in 2008, likely won’t reprise that role again because as many as two dozen states will weigh in before Florida. But the March 15 Sunshine State primary is shaping up as potentially spectacular theater nonetheless.
Jeb Bush versus Marco Rubio.
Two Florida favorite sons, longtime friends, mentor and protege, near neighbors in Miami-Dade facing off in America’s most important battleground state. What many viewed as almost unthinkable a few months ago — Rubio beating Bush among Florida Republicans — no longer seems far-fetched.
Other leading candidates already are pondering whether even to compete in Florida’s primary.
“I don’t think there’s a state out there we wouldn’t play in — other than maybe Florida, where Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio are in some of the polls essentially tied, and they are going to eat up a good amount of that financial advantage that Gov. Bush is going to have,” Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker said on Laura Ingraham’s radio show last week.