Sunday, May 20, 2018
Politics

Florida to face stiffer RNC penalties if it moves up primary date again

TAMPA — If Florida Republicans think they were treated harshly for moving up their 2012 presidential primary to January, wait until they try something like that in 2016.

Under new rules passed by national party officials Wednesday, Florida Republicans would see their delegates hacked by 90 percent if they leapfrog the GOP's four kickoff contests in Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada.

That's a far stiffer penalty than what Florida is getting this year. Party leaders cut the state's voting delegates at the Republican National Convention next week in Tampa from 99 to 50 and stripped them of more than 160 guest passes.

During a meeting at the Marriott Waterside, the Republican National Committee Rules Committee voted that future rogue states would have their delegates reduced to nine — the bare minimum required for a state to attend and serve on committees at the national convention.

"Half is not a big enough punishment," said South Carolina delegate Glenn McCall, who made the motion for the more severe penalty. "Obviously it's not, because there are states that still want to take that penalty and move up. So we need to make it really punitive and stick to it."

McCall said that South Carolina felt burned by Florida when it made its primary earlier. South Carolina had to move its primary up so that it could remain the first from the South. But it was punished, too, and its delegates dropped from 50 to 25.

So the committee also passed a measure, offered by a New Hampshire delegate, to not penalize the four "carve-out" states if they are forced to move their primaries or caucuses to an earlier date to beat out a state that jumps ahead on the calendar.

The rule changes must be approved by the full Republican National Committee, which meets today, and by the Convention Rules Committee, which meets Friday. Then it gets voted on during the convention.

Florida delegates like incoming state House Speaker Will Weatherford said he thought this year's penalties were severe enough. But he said he's not sure if it will spark a fight on the convention floor.

"It's too soon to tell," he said.

Wednesday's meeting dwelled mostly on obscure language in party rules, which can date back to the 1860s, but some changes stoked excitement.

John Ryder, a Tennessee delegate, pushed to increase the threshold for a candidate to qualify for nomination at the convention. Currently, party rules require candidates win the majority of delegates from at least five states. Ryder proposed raising that requirement to 10.

But several delegates said this seemed aimed at Ron Paul, the Texas congressman who ran a populist candidacy for president and didn't win the majority of delegates in any state.

"It's just wrong," said Morton Blackwell, a Virginia delegate who heads a libertarian and conservative leadership academy. "Five states is a high-enough threshold."

The committee agreed and rejected increasing the number of states to 10.

Michael Van Sickler can be reached at (813) 226-3401 or [email protected]

Comments
‘World’s most expensive Witch Hunt’: Trump lashes out at New York Times, Democrats

‘World’s most expensive Witch Hunt’: Trump lashes out at New York Times, Democrats

WASHINGTON - President Donald Trump lashed out Sunday at "the World’s most expensive Witch Hunt," trashing a new report in the New York Times that said an emissary representing the governments of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates offered help...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Obama’s education secretary: Let’s boycott school until gun laws change

Obama’s education secretary: Let’s boycott school until gun laws change

Former Education Secretary Arne Duncan pushed a radical idea on Twitter: Parents should pull their children out of school until elected officials pass stricter gun control laws.His tweet came hours after a shooting rampage at a Houston-area high scho...
Updated: 10 hours ago
China offers to buy more US products to reduce trade imbalance

China offers to buy more US products to reduce trade imbalance

WASHINGTON - China offered to boost its annual purchases of U.S. products by "at least $200 billion" Friday as two days of talks aimed at averting an open breach between the two countries ended in Washington, a top White House adviser said.Larry Kudl...
Published: 05/19/18
Hillsborough candidate falsified contract for fund-raising gospel concert, lawsuit says

Hillsborough candidate falsified contract for fund-raising gospel concert, lawsuit says

TAMPA — A concert organizer is accusing Hillsborough County Commission candidate Elvis Piggott of falsifying a contract and prompting the headline act to pull out of a gospel show.In a lawsuit filed in Hillsborough Circuit Court, Corey Curry claims h...
Published: 05/18/18
Gina Haspel confirmed as CIA chief despite scrutiny of her role in interrogation program

Gina Haspel confirmed as CIA chief despite scrutiny of her role in interrogation program

WASHINGTON - The Senate voted Thursday to confirm Gina Haspel as the next CIA director after several Democrats were persuaded to support her despite lingering concerns about her role in the brutal interrogation of suspected terrorists captured after ...
Published: 05/17/18
GOP pushes for speedy confirmation vote for CIA nominee

GOP pushes for speedy confirmation vote for CIA nominee

WASHINGTON — Republicans are pushing for a speedy confirmation vote as early as Thursday after the Senate intelligence committee endorsed President Donald Trump’s CIA nominee Gina Haspel to lead the spy agency. But opponents concerned about Haspel’s ...
Published: 05/16/18
Gina Haspel, Trump’s pick to lead CIA, wins support of Senate Intelligence Committee

Gina Haspel, Trump’s pick to lead CIA, wins support of Senate Intelligence Committee

WASHINGTON - The Senate Intelligence Committee moved Wednesday to recommend Gina Haspel for CIA director, setting up a floor vote that her opponents say will signal to the world whether the United States condemns or condones torture.The committee vot...
Published: 05/16/18
Carlton: Time for Hillsborough’s Uncle Tom Road to go — but artfully.

Carlton: Time for Hillsborough’s Uncle Tom Road to go — but artfully.

In Hillsborough County — where one of the world’s largest Confederate flags still flies near a busy interstate — you may not be surprised to learn there’s an Uncle Tom Road.The name is a flash point and a slur, shorthand for a black person who will d...
Published: 05/16/18
Clearwater Vice Mayor Doreen Caudell drops out of Pinellas Commission race

Clearwater Vice Mayor Doreen Caudell drops out of Pinellas Commission race

With six months to go before the Nov. 6 election, Clearwater Vice Mayor Doreen Caudell on Monday dropped her bid against Pinellas County Commissioner Pat Gerard for the at-large District 2 seat.Caudell said she decided she’d better be better suited f...
Published: 05/14/18
Romano: Hey Gov. Scott, could you hire me, too?

Romano: Hey Gov. Scott, could you hire me, too?

To: The Honorable Gov. Rick ScottDear Governor,It has come to my attention that your administration has recently made some, dare I say, innovative hires for important government positions in the months before you leave office.At the risk of sounding ...
Published: 05/14/18