Florida GOP penalized for early primary

Nov 9, 2007


The Republican National Committee followed its Democratic counterparts Thursday and slapped Florida with penalties for being the naughty boys of the presidential primary.

The RNC voted 121-9 to strip the state Republican Party of half of its 114 delegates at the national party convention in Minneapolis next year because Florida is choosing a presidential primary candidate a week before the most of the rest of the nation.

Republican Party Chairman Jim Greer tried to persuade the national party that while voters will choose a candidate in the Jan. 29 primary, delegates won’t be chosen until after Feb. 5 — the date party officials set in 2004 as the earliest delegates could be selected.

It was a good try, but ”a pretty technical argument,” said RNC Chairman Mike Duncan, and members didn’t buy it.

Florida will be punished along with New Hampshire, South Carolina, Wyoming and Michigan.

”No one wants to be in a position to penalize anyone, but our rules are self-enforcing,” said Robert Bennett, an Ohio party official in charge of allocating delegates. “They are very clear and they give me no options.”

The Democratic National Committee has voted to strip Florida of all its delegates because it violated the Feb. 5 date. Candidates have signed a pledge not to campaign in Florida as well.