RNC tells Florida: You will lose half delegates but that's only penalty
Three senior officials with the Republican National Committee spoke on background to reporters Friday about the 2012 primary calendar in light of Florida's decision to upset the apple cart. Here are some take aways:
* Florida will definitely lose half its delegates. RNC officials are firm about that. There will be no waiver or negotiations. As to whether the penalized states will be able to get floor passes for all delegates, as in 2008, RNC officials didn't know.
* Florida will only be punished once. After it loses its delegates, it won't lose anything more. (The Republican Party of Florida submitted rules on Friday to the RNC that would divide up most of the state's delegates -- estimated to be about 49 now -- to candidates based on the vote in each congressional district, with a small number going to at-large candidates, RNC spokesman Brian Hughes told the Times/Herald.)
* The decision by Florida, Arizona and Michigan to move up their primary dates will now force three of the traditionally early primary states to face penalties if it sets off a chain reaction of switches, as expected. New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada will also lose half their delegates if they move their primaries before Feb. 1. Iowa will not be punished because its does not bind its delegates to the caucus results.
*The convention will definitely remain in Tampa.
* Apportioning of delegates will be up to the states. All state must submit their rules to the RNC by midnight Oct. 1 outlining how they will apportion their delegates.
* Despite the seven states leap-frogging over the Feb. 1 start date, there will be 10 times fewer delegates committed by the end of February in 2012 than there were in 2008 -- when 1,400 delegates were bound to candidates by that time.
* The RNC does not expect to have an official primary calendar set until sometime next week when it will know exactly when each state officiallly binds its delegates.
* Only states that hold a primary before April 1 will be allowed to give all their delegates to the winner of the popular vote.