If Republicans opposed to Donald Trump’s presidential nomination can’t slow him down by mid-March, they’ll have one final, desperate card to play.
It’s called Florida.
By the time the Sunshine State holds its GOP primary March 15, Trump still won’t have the 1,237 delegates needed to lock up the nomination. Even if he wins every nomination contest over the next two and a half weeks — in 19 states, Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia — he'll be more than 200 delegates short.
Florida is the largest of five prizes up for grabs on March 15. (Illinois, Missouri, North Carolina and Ohio also hold primaries that day.) A total 358 delegates are at stake that day, with Florida accounting for 99. Whichever GOP candidate finishes first gets all 99.
Such a sweep would give Trump an aura of inevitability that would create its own momentum, said Ford O’Connell, a Republican strategist in Washington who has a house in Naples, Fla.
“The more Trump wins, the more likely he is to be the nominee (because) the more psychologically people are going to think he’s going to win,” O’Connell said.