May 21, 2015 — On Tuesday, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence (R) announced both that he will compete in a political contest, yet he won’t. After speculating about running for president, Pence formally declared that he will seek re-election as governor. Therefore, he is out of the presidential contest but he certainly remains in the political arena.
So far, the preponderance of prospective Republican candidates have either officially jumped into the race or appear headed in that direction. Two, Pence and Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder, have decided not to enter the national campaign.
This means the Republican field could still reach as many as 18 candidates. Eleven have either become candidates or, in the case of Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal and ex-Texas Gov. Rick Perry, will enter the race soon. Two major potential contenders, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker also have yet to formally declare, but will reportedly do so sometime in June.
This will be a record large presidential field and, with no one performing as a clear front-runner, the race may not be finally decided until the very end of the nominating cycle.
Gov. Rick Scott (R) signed legislation this week that could make the Republican presidential nomination process a bit more definitive. The Florida presidential primary will now be held on March 15, 2016 and, on the Republican side, the delegate apportionment system will be winner-take-all.
The move has national significance. Florida has been a leader in the past two elections of moving their primary vote to an earlier time on the schedule in defiance of Republican National Committee rules. The action has subjected them to convention penalties. The current move is in accordance with the party rules and could signal other states to remain in their traditional primary slots.
Under RNC presidential nominating procedure, a state voting on or after March 15 has the option of using a winner-take-all delegate format. Right now, with only six states in that category (Florida; Arizona; Utah; Delaware; Washington, DC and New Jersey), the chances of a deadlocked nomination fight resulting in an open or “brokered” convention is a distinct possibility. Florida, as the largest winner-take-all state with 99 delegates, will figure prominently in the selection process. Should other states follow their lead and also choose the winner-take-all method, the chances of a deadlock significantly diminish.