Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Latino group sues, saying GOP primary schedule hurts Hispanic Republicans

TAMPA — A local Latino group Monday sued Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus, contending that the GOP's primary schedule unconstitutionally dilutes the electoral clout of Hispanic Republican voters.

Moreover, the lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Tampa, asks a federal judge to stop the Republican Party from taking away half of Florida's delegates for scheduling today's presidential preference primary earlier than party rules allow.

A GOP spokesman said the party's legal staff needed to review the suit before he could comment.

The plaintiffs are the nonprofit Hillsborough Hispanic Coalition and Ralph A. Emmanuelli, 67, a Pinellas County Republican and the founder of UNO Federation Community Services, a nonprofit group working to integrate Hispanic residents into the American mainstream, the lawsuit says.

The complaint contends that the Republican Party's primary schedule "results in severely limited influence of Hispanic voters in selecting nominees."

"The early states don't represent a proportionate share of the Hispanic voters in this country," said Tampa attorney Michael Steinberg, who filed the suit.

Hispanic voters constitute about 9 percent of eligible voters nationwide, according to the lawsuit, but only 1.7 percent of eligible state voters in Iowa, 1.1 percent in South Carolina and 1.5 percent in New Hampshire. They're about 13.5 percent of registered voters in Nevada, but fewer than one in five are Republicans.

The suit also contends that the GOP's penalty of stripping Florida of 50 percent of its delegates at the Republican National Convention has "significant adverse effects" on Hispanic Republican voters.

The suit is being publicized by Victor DiMaio, a Tampa Democratic political consultant. Steinberg is a former chairman of the Hillsborough County Democratic Party. But both said the issue is aimed at trying to protect voters in each party.

"This is really a non-partisan issue, because both parties have the same rules," DiMaio said. "I'm just as upset at the Democratic Party."

In 2009, a federal appeals panel dismissed DiMaio's complaint that the Democratic National Committee hurt Florida Democratic voters by taking away the state's delegates after it scheduled its primary earlier than party rules allowed. A settlement restored all delegates votes at the convention.

Latino group sues, saying GOP primary schedule hurts Hispanic Republicans 01/30/12 [Last modified: Monday, January 30, 2012 10:49pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. St. Petersburg council sets millage rate in first budget hearing

    Local Government

    ST. PETERSBURG — The City Council set the millage rate and gave initial approval to Mayor Rick Kriseman's $538 million budget at Thursday night's hearing.

    Mayor Rick Kriseman talks about the state of the city on Tuesday, two days after Hiurricane Irma passed through the state. [EVE EDELHEIT   |   Times]
  2. How many more people would lack coverage under Cassidy-Graham? We can guess


    WASHINGTON — It's safe to say the new Obamacare rollback measure toward which the Senate is charging would mean fewer Americans have health coverage. Exactly how many is unclear. Some argue it could be more than 22 million people. Others say it could be fewer.

  3. Woman's decomposed body found near St. Petersburg railroad tracks


    ST. PETERSBURG — A woman's body was found near the railway tracks behind an empty building at 3100 38th Ave. N, according to St. Petersburg police.

  4. Warehouse burns on Tampa's east side


    TAMPA — Hillsborough County emergency crews are at the scene of a two-alarm fire at a warehouse near 56th Street and East Hillsborough Avenue.

    Hillsborough County firefighters battle a blaze Thursday night at a warehouse on Hillsborough Avenue in Tampa. [Hillsborough County Fire Rescue]
  5. 'Dream big' drives Lightning's Conacher brothers

    Lightning Strikes

    BRANDON — Two words: Dream big.

    Cory Conacher includes them every time he signs an autograph for a young hockey fan.

    Tampa Bay Lightning forward Cory Conacher (89) on the ice during Lightning training camp in Brandon Friday morning (09/15/17).