Florida Democratic Party website – “The Rules say you had to try to stop the primary move, but Democrats voted for the law. What gives? Initially, before a specific date had been decided upon by the Republicans, some Democrats did actively support the idea of moving earlier in the calendar year. That changed when Speaker Rubio announced he wanted to break the Rules of the Democratic and Republican National Committees. Following this announcement, DNC and Florida Democratic Party staff talked about the possibility that our primary date would move up in violation of Rule 11.A.
Party leaders, Chairwoman Thurman and members of Congress then lobbied Democratic members of the Legislature through a variety of means to prevent the primary from moving earlier than February 5th. Party leadership and staff spent countless hours discussing our opposition to and the ramifications of a pre-February 5th primary with legislators, former and current Congressional members, DNC members, DNC staff, donors, activists, county leaders, media, legislative staff, Congressional staff, municipal elected officials, constituency leaders, labor leaders and counterparts in other state parties. In response to the Party’s efforts, Senate Democratic Leaders Geller and Wilson and House Democratic Leaders Gelber and Cusack introduced amendments to CS/HB 537 to hold the Presidential Preference Primary on the first Tuesday in February, instead of January 29th. These were both defeated by the overwhelming Republican majority in each house.
The primary bill, which at this point had been rolled into a larger legislation train, went to a vote in both houses. It passed almost unanimously. The final bill contained a whole host of elections legislation, much of which Democrats did not support. However, in legislative bodies, the majority party can shove bad omnibus legislation down the minority’s throats by attaching a couple of things that made the whole bill very difficult, if not impossible, to vote against. This is what the Republicans did in Florida, including a vital provision to require a paper trail for Florida elections. There was no way that any Florida Democratic Party official or Democratic legislative leader could ask our Democratic members, especially those in the Florida Legislative Black Caucus, to vote against a paper trail for our elections. It would have been embarrassing, futile, and, moreover, against Democratic principles.
[…]Why can’t you just change the primary date? Unfortunately, Florida Democrats are outnumbered almost 2 to 1 in the Legislature. They are an extremely hard-working and committed group, but to change a law that the Speaker of the House has made a priority is nearly impossible.”