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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

The fight for Fla's delegates continues



Newt Gingrich's Fla chairman, Bill McCollum, as well as RNC chairman Reince Priebus appeared on Greta Van Susteren's Fox News show last night to explain their stances on whether Florida's 50 delegates should be winner-take-all, as it's currently deemed, or should be awarded proportionally as McCollum and more than a few RNC members believe. Excerpts:


....McCollum: Well, back when, they had to decide what to do about states that decided they were going to have their primaries early, the Republican National Committee voted, their rules committee did, that if you were an early state and broke the rules, like Florida did, that you had to have your delegates proportioned proportionately and not the winner-take-all. And that is on the rules book right.

And frankly, they haven't enforced that rule and they claim they don't have the power or something to levy a penalty. Of course they do. It's not a penalty issue. It's a question of the fact that they issued a rule, so that's the way it's going to be....

VAN SUSTEREN: How do you answer the fact that the -- the penalty they did give Florida -- Florida advancing its primary is that they got its delegates cut in half. That's why they're down to 50 to begin with. Is this a second punishment, or is it a separate...
MCCOLLUM: It's not a punishment. It's a rule that says right up front that that's what happens. It's not a punishment. It's not, like, hey, they had already decided to cut them in half. It's a question of they said it's going to be proportional.
So what's going to happen here, Greta, very straightforward, is there is a contest already because only takes one person to make that request. That was done by not our campaign, but we certainly would back it up. It was done by a state committeeman in Florida back sometime ago in November. And he reiterated it recently.
It's my understanding there is a contest committee to which this has been or should be referred. And I have reason to believe that just talking anecdotally to various National Committeemen and Committeewomen, that quite a few of them on that committee and on the rules committee who are very, very unhappy that the chairman is not enforcing or choosing to enforce this rule or saying he's going to, which might, if it's not brought up sooner, which I think it will be, I can't imagine with all the furor that's going to happen over it, won't be, but if it's not brought up and decided by the National Committee sooner, it's going to be a contest at the convention....

Florida Republican chairman Lenny Curry weighed in today: "On September 23, 2011, RPOF's Executive Board - 38 people including members from around the state, members who serve on the RNC, and members who are affiliated with different campaigns - unanimously passed RPOF Rule 10. Rule 10 determined Florida would be winner take all if the primary date was moved by statute and Florida was penalized by RNC for the move. All campaigns and the RNC have known since then that Florida was winner take all. RNC's legal counsel has, on numerous occasions, noted their understanding and acceptance of Florida's rule.

"Florida was winner take all before Election Day, we were winner take all on Election Day, we will remain winner take all. As Bill McCollum confirmed to Fox News today, had the outcome been different on Tuesday he would not be seeking publicity for a challenge to the rules adopted by Florida's Republicans. It is a shame when the loser of a contest agrees to the rules before, then cries foul after losing."

[Last modified: Thursday, February 2, 2012 1:27pm]


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