WASHINGTON (UPI) — As Florida Sen. Marco Rubio wages a last-ditch effort to revive his flagging presidential campaign ahead of his home state primary, his rival, Sen. Ted Cruz, is considering jumping into the fray there.
The potential for Cruz to wade into the campaign in Florida poses a risk for the Texas senator. He stands virtually no chance of winning the state. Additionally, Florida is a winner-take-all state, meaning there is no reward in the delegate count for finishing second or third.
The payoff, the Cruz campaign says, would be taking enough votes away from Rubio to prevent him from beating the front-runner, Donald Trump. If Trump hands Rubio a humiliating defeat on his home turf, Rubio would likely quit the race.
Polls in the Sunshine State have shown Trump with a sizable lead there.
Pressing Rubio to defend his home state has the added benefit for Cruz of forcing the Rubio campaign to spend more resources there, and skip competing in other states that vote on March 15, including Ohio, North Carolina, Missouri and Illinois.
Cruz and Rubio have split the anti-Trump vote, along with Ohio Gov. John Kasich, but new polling indicates either Cruz or Rubio could see a surge in support if the field were narrowed to a two-way race with Trump.
The political gamble would not come cheaply for Cruz. Florida is a large state and home to several of the most expensive media markets in the country to purchase advertising.
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