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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Video: RNC Chairman to penalized Fla GOP primary scofflaws: Chill, there's plenty of room at Tampa Bay Times Forum

Sorry, Florida Republicans. The chairman of the national party says you best not expect much leniency after breaking the party rules by holding a January presidential primary.

State party leaders are hoping presidential nominee Mitt Romney twists some arms to ensure at least 100 Florida Republicans be allowed onto the floor of the Tampa Bay Times Forum in August after the national party leaders cut the state’s delegation in half to 50. Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Preibus told the Tampa Bay Times and Bay News 9 Thursday that’s unlikely.

"The rules committee made a decision that Florida’s going to lose half of its delegates," Priebus said, taping a Political Connection interview to air Sunday on Bay News 9. "I have not heard a single person on the Rules Committee make any movement or request or anyone from any part of this operation to change that."

Still, Priebus appeared to leave the door wide open to allowing more state party activists into the Tampa Bay Times forum for the national convention, even if they don’t have seats on the floor with voting delegates.

"We’re talking about 50 seats on the floor. Believe me, we’re going to need a lot of people here in Florida filling that arena. It’s really not something that I think people here in Florida should be obsessing over," Priebus said.

"We’re going to have a great convention, Florida GOP is going to have a great time. We’re going to win Florida, and we’re going to do it together as a team and a family here in Florida. This is one little thing that we’ve had to deal with as the RNC, but it’s not going to detract from the good time that every single person in Florida that would like to be a part of the convention, it’s not going to detract from their experience that they’re going to have here in Tampa."

The Florida GOP violated the national party’s sanctioned primary schedule four years ago as well, the the RNC cut the state’s delegation in half to 55. In the end, all 110 delegates were seated on the floor, though half were deemed non-voting "honored guests" and their names were excluded from the convention’s official registry.

"I am working hard behind the scenes to make sure we have a full slate of Floridians in the arena, and participating in the events,'' said Florida Republican Chairman Lenny Curry. "They fully recognize the importance of Florida and that its important that Republicans in Florida have a good experience."

State GOP Chairman Lenny Curry said he's optimistic

[Last modified: Thursday, May 10, 2012 4:36pm]

    

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