On March 15, Floridians will cast their ballots for Democrat and Republican nominees for U.S. president. This year, with both races still competitive well into the primary season, the Sunshine State is expected to play a critical role. Among Republican candidates, whoever wins the primary will be awarded all 99 of the state’s delegates, or 8 percent of the total delegates needed to win the GOP nomination. On the Democratic side, delegates will be awarded proportionally.
The declining influence of the state’s Cubans—who historically favored the Republican Party—is good news for Democrats. The Dems are registering greater numbers of Latino voters, important in the closed primary election. While Democrats are very supportive of U.S. President Barack Obama’s March 21 and 22 Cuba trip, they’re more ambiguous on a potential Puerto Rican debt deal, which Republicans generally oppose. Voters in both parties are split on whether or not to continue the “wet foot, dry foot” immigration policy.
Voting on the Ides of March will also take place in Ohio, Illinois, Missouri, and North Carolina, some of the largest states in the union; more delegates will be at stake in those five states on March 15 than any other day besides Super Tuesday voting on March 1.