One surprise candidate running for office in Florida was Ryan Binkley, a CEO and pastor from Dallas, Texas, who launched his presidential bid earlier this year and financed his campaign largely on his own. Federal campaign records show Binkley had spent more than $7 million on the race by the end of September.
Binkley focused on the national debt, inflation, health care spending and immigration as part of his campaign platform. Although he has made campaign appearances in early states such as Iowa, Binkley has not attracted the same attention as other candidates such as Vivek Ramaswamy and is generally unknown to the public.
Many Republican candidates seeking to get on the ballot showed up at the Florida Freedom Summit earlier this month in Kissimmee, including Trump and DeSantis.
Haley, considered one of Trump’s primary challengers, abruptly canceled her appearance at the Kissimmee event, meaning she had to pay a hefty fee to Florida Republicans to qualify for the March 19 primary . Candidates who spoke at the summit only had to pay a $25,000 qualifying fee, while those who didn’t show up had to pay $100,000.
The winner-take-all Florida primary comes after early candidate states and Super Tuesday, placing it later in the calendar behind other Southern states like Alabama, Georgia, Texas and other states. other large states like California.
In 2016, the Florida primary was won overwhelmingly by Trump, who defeated Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) in his home state and prompted Rubio to drop out of the presidential race. That year’s ballot included many names of candidates — including former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush — who had already withdrawn.
Under Florida law, parties have until Nov. 30 to submit their slate of primary candidates to state election officials. Candidates are allowed to withdraw their names from the primary ballot until December 12.
The Trump campaign has repeatedly taunted DeSantis over the December deadline, issuing press releases urging the governor to withdraw from the ballot “and save himself the embarrassment of losing his home state.”
Florida Republicans had initially planned to ask Republican candidates to sign a loyalty pledge in which they would agree to support the Republican candidate and pledge not to run as a third-party or independent candidate. But in September, senior members of the Florida Republican Party backed away from that pledge after facing pressure from Trump supporters. Republicans backed away from that pledge despite DeSantis supporters urging party leaders to keep it intact.
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