5 States That Got Punished By the RNC

PHOTO: In this photo taken Aug. 22, 2012, the Tampa Bay Times Forum, site of the 2012 Republican National Convention, is viewed across the water of the Garrison Channel from Harbour Island in downtown Tampa, Fla. Weather forecasts continue to show Florida
AP Photo/The Tampa Bay Times, Carolina Hidalgo

It's punishment time at the Republican National Convention. The five states that bucked the GOP's rules and held their primaries early will face the music this week as thousands of delegates from all 50 states and five territories pack into the Tampa, Fla., area to elect Mitt Romney as their party's official presidential nominee.

According to GOP rules, no state was allowed to hold its primary before March 6 except for Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada, which could hold theirs no earlier than Feb. 1. No state could have a winner-take-all primary or caucus prior to April 1.

Five states broke those rules and are now suffering the consequences with parsed-back voting power and lousy hotel assignments -- some are more than 30 miles from the convention center.

Here's a look at which states are bearing the brunt of the Republican National Committee's disciplinarian this year.

Florida

Voted For: Mitt Romney

Primary Date: Jan. 31

Rule Broken: Did not wait until after March 6 and assigned delegates as winner-take-all before April 1. Punishment: Florida may be the host state, but it is not getting any special privileges at the 2012 GOP convention. Half of the state's delegates lost their voting privileges, reducing Florida's votes from 99 to 50. The state delegation's hotel is 31 miles from the Tampa Bay Times Forum, where the convention will be held, at the Innisbrook Resort in Palm Harbor, Fla.

"We are definitely one of, if not the farthest away," said Florida Republican Party spokeswoman Kristen McDonald.

But, McDonald said, the delegation is "trying to look on the bright side of things."

"It's a really nice resort and they have a spa and a bunch of swimming pools and restaurants," McDonald said. "They are really trying to roll out the red carpet for us."

The RNC also took away some of Florida's guest passes and VIP passes.

South Carolina

Primary Date: Jan. 21

Voted For: Newt Gingrich

Rule Broken: Did not wait until after Feb. 1 to hold its primary and assigned delegates as winner-take-all before April 1.

Punishment: South Carolina is joining Florida in what amounts to RNC Siberia at the Innisbrook Resort in Palm Harbor, about a 45-minute drive from the convention action. The state also lost half of its delegate voting power, getting reduced from 50 voting delegates to 25.

South Carolina GOP Chairman Chad Connelly blamed Florida for causing a "scramble" by moving its primary into January and causing South Carolina to break party rules in order to maintain its "first in the South" primary status that is required by state law.

"I had to make a call, and to us, it's way more important to continue being a carveout state and having the candidates come to South Carolina than it was to keep our delegates," Connelly said.

"I don't think it's fair that we get knocked when we're forced to move."

New Hampshire

Primary Date: Jan. 10

Voted For: Mitt Romney

Rule Broken: Held primary before Feb. 1.

Punishment: New Hampshire is historically the first state to hold its primary every year, although Iowa's caucuses precede it. So when Florida broke the rules and declared its primary on Jan. 31, New Hampshire's law dictated that its primary had to be held at least seven days ahead of any other state's primary.

As a result, New Hampshire will get 12 voting delegates instead of 24. Because New Hampshire is not a winner-take-all state, Romney will receive 7 of those votes, Ron Paul will receive three and Jon Huntsman will get two.

"We knew that we'd be penalized for moving our primary ahead, but we wanted to preserve our tradition of having the first-in-the-nation primary," said New Hampshire GOP spokeswoman Meg Stone. "It was something that we knew was going to happen."

New Hampshire fared well on the hotel front, scoring a prime spot at the Wyndham Tampa Westshore hotel a mere 5 miles from the Tampa Bay Times Forum. Delegates from Vermont, Delaware, D.C., and Maine are also staying the Wyndham.

Michigan

Primary Date: Feb. 28

Voted For: Mitt Romney

Rule Broken: Held primary prior to March 6

Punishment: Michigan was docked 30 delegates, half of the state's original 60, after the state legislature decided to hold its Republican primary during a previously-scheduled state-wide election on Feb. 28, one week before the GOP's March 6 cut-off date.

"Rather than burden the taxpayers with a special election by waiting a week, or even two weeks to avoid the penalty, our legislature chose Feb. 28 as the date, because we already had elections on the book statewide, for the presidential primary," said Michigan GOP spokesman Matt Frendewey. "We recognized that we were going to get a penalty, but there was nothing we could do."

"Our hands were tied," he added. "But that doesn't discourage the excitement."

Romney is originally from Michigan, where his dad served as governor, so Frendewey said there was a lot of buzz within the delegation. Romney's brother, Scott Romney, and his niece, Ronna Romney McDaniel, are both members of the Michigan delegation.

Likely for this reason, the Michigan delegation got a stellar hotel assignment and is rooming at The Embassy Suites two blocks from the convention center.

Arizona

Primary Date: Feb. 28

Voted For: Mitt Romney

Rule Broken: Held their primary prior to March 6 and assigned their delegates winner-take-all before April 1.

Punishment: Arizona will have 29 voting delegates at the convention, half of the state's original 58 delegates, because the state was determined to "play a significant role" in "setting the pace and momentum for the presidential nominee selection process," said Arizona GOP spokesman Shane Wikfors.

"Our excitement for this process supersedes any other emotions about it," Wikfors said. "We're just really glad to be there and playing a prominent role in the nomination process."

The Arizona delegation is sleeping an easy eight minutes from the heart of the GOP convention in the Embassy Suites Tampa: Airport Westshore.

Join the Discussion
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
You Might Also Like...