Saturday, December 16, 2017
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
Trump defends tax plan, proclaims economy set ‘to rock’

Trump defends tax plan, proclaims economy set ‘to rock’

WASHINGTON — Closing in on the first major legislative achievement of his term, President Donald Trump on Saturday defended the Republican tax cut as a good deal for the middle class while boldly suggesting it could lead to explosive economic growth....
Updated: 1 hour ago
Romano: Some bullies survive beyond the schoolyard

Romano: Some bullies survive beyond the schoolyard

Sometime soon, members of the Florida House will be asked to consider a solution for bullying in public schools. It’s a dubious idea based on the premise that students should flee their tormenters, and use voucher funds to attend a private school of ...
Updated: 2 hours ago
CDC gets list of forbidden words: ‘fetus,’ ‘transgender,’ ‘evidence-based’

CDC gets list of forbidden words: ‘fetus,’ ‘transgender,’ ‘evidence-based’

Trump administration officials are forbidding officials at the nation’s top public health agency from using a list of seven words or phrases - including "fetus" and "transgender" - in any official documents being prepared for next year’s budget.Polic...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Female congressional candidate leaves race after sexual harassment allegations resurface

Female congressional candidate leaves race after sexual harassment allegations resurface

A Democratic candidate hoping to flip a hotly contested congressional seat in Kansas has dropped out of the race after allegations that she sexually harassed a male subordinate resurfaced amid her campaign.Andrea Ramsey, 57, who was running to unseat...
Updated: 11 hours ago
Highlights of GOP compromise bill to overhaul tax code

Highlights of GOP compromise bill to overhaul tax code

WASHINGTON — Republicans in Congress have blended separate tax bills passed by the House and Senate into compromise legislation that seeks to achieve a sweeping overhaul of the nation’s tax code. GOP leaders are looking toward passage of the final pa...
Updated: 11 hours ago
With Rubio, Corker back on board, GOP speeds ahead with tax plan

With Rubio, Corker back on board, GOP speeds ahead with tax plan

WASHINGTON — Republican lawmakers on Friday secured enough votes to pass the most sweeping tax overhaul in decades, putting them on the cusp of their first significant legislative victory this year as party leaders geared up to pass a $1.5 trillion t...
Published: 12/15/17
Experts chart path for Hillsborough to grow smarter before sprawl takes over

Experts chart path for Hillsborough to grow smarter before sprawl takes over

TAMPA — Nearly 600,000 more people will live in Hillsborough County by 2040, and if elected officials and county planners don’t take bold steps now, the population boom will turn the county into the soulless sprawl of Anywhere, U.S.A.That’s the messa...
Published: 12/15/17
Tillerson retreats on offer of unconditional N. Korea talks

Tillerson retreats on offer of unconditional N. Korea talks

WASHINGTON — America’s top diplomat stepped back Friday from his offer of unconditional talks with North Korea, telling world powers that the nuclear-armed nation must earn the right to negotiate with the United States. Secretary of State Rex Tillers...
Published: 12/15/17
Judge signals release of ex-Trump chair Paul Manafort to Florida home under curfew and GPS monitoring

Judge signals release of ex-Trump chair Paul Manafort to Florida home under curfew and GPS monitoring

A federal judge Friday said a bail package has been put together that would release former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort from home confinement in his condominium in Virginia and allow him to reside at his house in Palm Beach Gardens, but unde...
Published: 12/15/17
The meta-soap opera of Omarosa Manigault’s White House exit

The meta-soap opera of Omarosa Manigault’s White House exit

WASHINGTON — As the spooling drama of Omarosa Manigault Newman’s White House departure spun into its 36th hour, Washington began asking itself: "Does it actually matter whether Omarosa quit or was fired?"Dumbest story ever," tweeted John Harwood, the...
Published: 12/15/17