Marco Rubio backers had been hoping after two debates in which Rubio and Ted Cruz tag-teamed Donald Trump and played rather nice together that Cruz would take a pass on campaigning in Florida in order to give Rubio a better chance of winning his first primary election. The polls, for what they are worth seem to make this feasible:
Florida is a closed primary state which means that many of the independents and disaffected blue-collar Democrats who have helped out Trump will not be allowed to vote. And, as we saw on Super Tuesday, the polling, generally, overstated Trump's support by about four points and understated Rubio's by about three points.
The Florida duel between Donald Trump and Marco Rubio has a new player: Ted Cruz.
The Texas senator has opened 10 campaign offices in the Sunshine State ahead of the March 15 primary, volunteers told the Miami Herald. The campaign confirmed the new offices Friday, including one that opened a week ago on Miami's Sunset Road and 97th Avenue.
"Following a strong showing on Super Tuesday, the Cruz for President Campaign is communicating a serious commitment to competing hard in the winner-take-all Sunshine State primary on March 15th," the campaign said in a statement.
Lourdes Castillo de la Peña, a Cruz volunteer, said even if no Cruz campaign stops are announced before next Thursday's Miami GOP debate, his fervent supporters have been making voter calls and organizing teams to knock on doors. She hopes to host Cruz's wife, Heidi, in Miami in the coming week.
Manny Roman, the Miami-Dade GOP vice-chairman who was nearly kicked out of the party for publicly announcing his role in Cruz's campaign, made sure to stand just outside Rubio's Miami rally Tuesday night, to remind reporters that some Cuban-American Republicans in town were backing a different senator for president.
As I've said on a couple occasions in posts, the name of the game for Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio is not "Stop Trump." That is the game a lot of pundits want to be played. Cruz and Rubio have invested a lot of time, ego, money, and credibility in another game. It is called "Win the White House." You win the White House by winning delegates. Florida is a Winner Take All state. There is no reason for Cruz to give up on Florida. It isn't like Cruz voters are going to go to Rubio just because he doesn't campaign in Florida and it really isn't like Cruz and Rubio are competing for the same pool of voters. If anything, Cruz has the best chance of pulling votes away from Trump.