43ºF

Scott signs presidential primary change bill

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Florida's 2016 presidential primary elections will be March 15.

Gov. Rick Scott wasted no time Thursday signing into law a bill (HB 7035) that sets presidential primaries on the third Tuesday in March, according to a release from his office.

Under the previous law, next year's primaries would have been March 1. Scott said he would sign the bill after the Senate unanimously approved it Wednesday.

According to national GOP rules, the later date will allow the Republican Party of Florida to make its primary winner-take-all, instead of awarding delegates proportionally.

Democratic Party delegates are awarded proportionally regardless of when a state's primary is held.

The House passed the bill last week. Delaying the primary date is a different strategy from past efforts by Florida to move up earlier in the presidential primary season. Those efforts led the national parties, which have sought to protect early contests in states such as Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina, to take away some of Florida's delegates.