Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio’s backyard battle royal

“There’s a lot of passion, and this could almost literally come to blows,” said David Custin, an independent and longtime Miami-Dade political consultant who’s often hired to work on some of the roughest campaigns.

“If someone says the wrong thing in Nevada or something, there could be a brawl at the Ball & Chain bar in Little Havana. If someone starts shoving somebody in Illinois, fists could fly at The Pub in Coral Gables,” Custin said. “A lot of us, a lot of my Republican clients, don’t know what to do. They don’t want to pick a side. But they might have to.”

The contest between the two is particularly vexing to many here because Bush and Rubio are party icons in Miami-Dade and across the state. Most Republicans who run for office — especially in a primary — covet the endorsement of both. They’re featured in candidate mailers, ads, robocalls, fundraisers and rallies. Their respective endorsements are believed to move poll numbers.