Usually, the primary calendar goes from Iowa to New Hampshire to South Carolina to Florida.
Florida is where Mitt Romney shut down Newt Gingrich in 2012. Florida is where Rudy Giuliani’s campaign imploded in 2008. Florida has been a final firewall for campaigns. But things are different this year.
Texas comes before Florida, but not just Texas. It will be an SEC Primary that has Texas joining Tennessee, Georgia, Alabama, and other southern states. Jeb Bush had been going through the SEC, attending football games. He went to a University of Georgia game in Athens. A few weeks ago he went to the Tennessee v. Georgia game in Knoxville. He had been planning to go to the LSU v. Alabama game in Tuscaloosa, but cancelled.
Now comes word that Bush could not field a full slate of delegates in Alabama. The Friday deadline will come with Donald Trump, Ben Carson, Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz fielding full slates of delegates.
To be sure, full slates are not necessary. But it is telling that Bush could not field one and seems to be giving up on the SEC primary. He’s focusing again on New Hampshire and going back to Iowa instead.
Meanwhile, here in the Atlanta area, Right to Rise is still running pro-Bush ads on Fox News, but even here the word on the street is that Rubio, Cruz, and Carson are building out a bigger slate of support.
Rubio just announced a large endorsement of elected Republicans and it includes a slate of both solid conservatives and long time GOP insiders.