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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Fla's GOP delegates: Should it be 50 for Romney? Or 23 for Romney, 16 for Gingrich?

1

February

Last week we noted the looming debate over whether the RNC properly allowed Florida's schedule-breaking primary to be winner-take-all for delegates or whether it should in fact be proportional.

It only takes a registered Florida voter to file a challenge to Florida's delegation and the RNC's contest committee will take it up a week before the convention in August. Marc Cross, an Osceola state committeeman and Ron Paul supporter, months ago complained to the RNC about the winner-take-all question. Now Fox News reports that the Gingrich campaign is likely to encourage a challenge as well.

Here's the memo from the Gingrich camp.

And here's the RNC's memo on the topic out today:

MEMORANDUM

TO:  RNC MEMBERS

FROM: BILL CROCKER, GENERAL COUNSEL
   JOHN RYDER, CHAIRMAN, PRESIDENTIAL NOMINATING SCHEDULE                    COMMITTEE

RE: FLORIDA DELEGATION TO THE NATIONAL CONVENTION

DATE: FEBRUARY 1, 2012
________________________________________________________________________

This memo is written to address some questions that have arisen regarding whether or not the Republican Party of Florida can send a delegation to the National Convention chosen pursuant to a winner-take-all rule, and the proper procedure to raise and address such questions.

At the 2008 Republican National Convention, the delegates approved Rule 10(d), which created a temporary delegate selection committee with the limited authority “to review the timing of the election, selection, allocation, or binding of delegates or alternate delegates pursuant to Rule No. 15(b)” and to make recommendations regarding such timing to the full RNC, which could adopt the committee’s proposal by a two-thirds vote.  The amended Rule 15(b) that was recommended by the committee and adopted by the RNC created three timing windows establishing the earliest dates on which states could hold primaries or caucuses to elect, select, allocate or bind delegates to the national convention:

No primary, caucus, or convention to elect, select, allocate, or bind delegates to the national convention shall occur prior to the first Tuesday in March in the year in which the national convention is held.  Except, Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Nevada may begin their processes at any time on or after February 1 in the year in which the national convention is held and shall not be subject to the provisions of paragraph (b)(2) of this rule. (Rule No. 15(b)(1))

Any presidential primary, caucus, convention, or other meeting held for the purpose of selecting delegates to the national convention which occurs prior to the first day of April in the year in which the national convention is held, shall provide for the allocation of delegates on a proportional basis. (Rule No. 15(b)(2))

By holding its primary on January 31, Florida has violated Rule 15(b).  Like the other states in violation, Florida is suffering the mandatory penalties under Rule 16: loss of fifty percent of its delegates and alternates, and the RNC members from Florida cannot serve as delegates.  In addition, the RNC Rules Committee imposed every available discretionary penalty – penalties related to convention seating, guest privileges and hotel location.  Thus, all of the penalties authorized under the Rules have been imposed on Florida.

With regard to proportionality, the RNC does not have the authority to intervene in a state’s primary plans beyond the imposition of the Rule 16 penalties.  A contest procedure exists for challenges to a state’s delegation or delegates.  The RNC cannot consider any issue regarding Florida’s delegation unless and until a proper contest is brought.  If a contest is properly and timely filed, the Committee on Contests and the RNC will have the opportunity to hear the contest and determine if there are any further steps to be taken beyond the penalties that have already been imposed.

We hope you find this information helpful in clearing up some of the questions that have been raised regarding the Florida primary.
 

[Last modified: Wednesday, February 1, 2012 10:50pm]

    

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