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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Fla GOP expects Mitt Romney's help getting convention delegates seated



convntn.jpgOkay, Mitt Romney, it's time to step up for Florida.


Florida Republicans revived your candidacy in the Jan. 31 primary. They've donated more than $7 million to your 2012 presidential campaign. They're hosting your nomination bash at the Tampa Bay Times Forum. And without Florida's 29 electoral votes it's nearly impossible for you to win the White House.

So now Florida Republicans are expecting you, Mr. Presumptive Nominee, to lean on the Republican National Committee to ease off Florida's penalties for breaking party rules by holding a January primary. They want at least 99 Floridians seated at the Aug. 27-30 Republican National Convention in Tampa, though the RNC has lopped Florida's delegation in half to 50.

"We've asked the Romney people to go to the RNC,'' said Peter Feaman, a Republican national committeeman from Boca Raton. "If we can't have all our delegates, can you at least seat all of us and allow us in the convention?"

No other swing state has as many electoral votes as Florida, and with that mega battleground status comes a hefty sense of entitlement. That explains why so many party activists gathered in Tampa for the state GOP's quarterly meeting this weekend sounded utterly confident they ultimately will escape the strict penalties promised by the RNC.

On Saturday, party leaders approved a full slate of 99 delegates and 96 alternates, two from each of the state's 25 congressional districts and the rest at-large choices by the party chairman. If the RNC sticks to its penalties, the state party in June or July will revise the list to designate the 50 official delegates.

"The reality is Mitt Romney is not going to have Florida be penalized. We're the battleground of all battleground states," predicted A.J. Matthews, a state committeeman from Hillsborough and a delegate representing congressional District 11.

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[Last modified: Saturday, April 28, 2012 5:57pm]


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