This week’s political news is dominated by the upcoming Republican Presidential primary in Florida on January 31. While the focus of the news is on the four adversaries in the race, little is being said about how Florida’s Republican Party is being punished by the National Republican Committee. From the national committee’s perspective, the Florida State committee has gone rogue.
In the Fall of 2011, the Republican National Committee attempted to avoid a chaotic and compressed schedule for selecting their Presidential candidate by barring primaries and caucuses prior to March 6, 2012 except in Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina. State Republican parties that violated this rule would incur penalties. Nevertheless, Florida Republicans chose to hold their Presidential primary on January 31, 2012.
Accordingly, and as promised, the National Committee punished Florida by
cutting its potential delegate count in half. Instead of the 99 delegates Florida Republicans would normally send to their Presidential convention in August, they are now eligible for just 50 delegates.
Not only is their delegate count reduced but as further punishment the national committee ordained that Florida delegates would only get seats in the back rows at the convention and that their hotel be “neither favorable nor convenient”. Wow! Did the Republican National Committee forget that their Presidential convention is in Tampa, Florida this year?
In addition to punishing states which hold primaries or caucuses earlier than March 6th, the Republican National Committee also specified that delegate numbers determined before April 1, 2012 would be proportionally allocated to the various candidates. The Florida Committee must be a tough bunch. Not only did they move up their primary date to January 31, they declared it would be “winner take all”. Their deliberations on this matter indicated that since the national
committee had already punished them by taking 50% of their delegates, they
wouldn’t dare punish them further.
It should be noted that Florida Republicans did the same thing in 2008 and were similarly punished by the national committee. Nevertheless, when the convention was held, they reconciled and delegates were reinstated and they got better seats and hotel rooms. Maybe this led the current state committee to feel that these rules were all a big game on the part of the National Committee. To what end? We will find out later this year at the Tampa convention.