Florida takes shape as Joe Biden’s firewall

Joe Biden is crushing the Democratic field here, including Bernie Sanders, in the latest polling. More than one-third of Democratic state legislators endorsed him almost as soon as he announced his candidacy, a testament to state political ties that stretch back decades and span generations.

“Biden is in a class all on his own in Florida,” said pollster Ryan Tyson, who just completed a survey of Florida Democrats.In prior Democratic presidential primaries, Florida didn’t matter nearly as much to the outcome as it figures to next year. The crowded 2020 field increases the likelihood of a drawn-out primary season that remains unsettled when the state votes in mid-March.

By then, the roster of 21 candidates will be considerably winnowed. And the remaining campaigns could be drained of resources since Florida’s March 17 primary comes two weeks after Super Tuesday — which will include California this time.

If Biden can generate momentum in the early-voting states and remain popular in Florida — which, with 10 major media markets, can be wildly expensive to advertise in — rival campaigns will have to make some hard decisions about the value of competing hard here.

Pollster Fernand Amandi, who surveyed the Florida primary in March, said that as long as Biden wins at least two of the first early states and holds his own in the other preceding states, Florida is poised to give him an outsized advantage.

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