Jul 6, 2023 - Politics & Policy

Florida demands loyalty pledge from 2024 GOP presidential candidates

The Fryeburg Fair on October 3, 2022 in Fryeburg, Maine. Photo: Andrew Lichtenstein/Corbis via Getty Images

Florida's Republican Party is requiring 2024 presidential candidates to sign a pledge to support the eventual nominee to qualify for the state's winner-take-all primary.

Why it matters: It's the latest loyalty test for Republican candidates and mirrors the pledge from the Republican National Committee as a requirement for the first debate, which has drawn heat from some candidates.

  • The Florida pledge, first reported by Politico, could play a key role in determining who takes the 125 delegates awarded to the winner of the state's March 19 primary.

Driving the news: Florida GOP Chair Christian Ziegler told Axios that candidates shouldn’t be able to "use Republican resources and platforms to get their positions and become well-known and then they turn around and use it against the Republican Party."

  • "So it goes against our mission, so I think some of that came into play and that's why the requested pledge was put into place," he said.
  • The pledge also requires candidates to pledge not run as an independent or third-party candidate.

The big picture: The RNC rolled out a loyalty pledge earlier this year as a requirement to qualify for the August debate, drawing heat from some Republican candidates, particularly those that are outspoken critics of former President Trump.

  • Former Texas Rep. Will Hurd, who has been an outspoken critic of the RNC pledge, told CNN that he will not sign Florida's pledge.
  • "The issue is not with me supporting a Republican nominee. The issue is I am not going to support Donald Trump," Hurd said, echoing gripes he's made before about the RNC pledge.

Trump, the frontrunner in the crowded Republican primary, has previously not answered whether he would back the Republican nominee if it is not him.

  • Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has also sidestepped questions about whether he would support the former president if he is the Republican nominee.

Go deeper: RNC loyalty pledge will only be given to candidates who qualify for debate

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