November 9th, 2007
08:15 AM ET
11 years ago

RNC punishes five states for early primaries

RNC Chairman Mike Duncan

WASHINGTON (CNN) – The Republican Party will penalize five states for holding presidential primary elections before February 5, 2008, Republican National Committee Chairman Mike Duncan announced Thursday.

New Hampshire, Florida, South Carolina, Michigan and Wyoming will be stripped of half their delegates to the party's convention in September, Duncan said in a conference call with reporters.

"The rules lay out a well defined process for selecting delegates, including a window from February 5 to July 28 in which state parties are permitted to hold their delegate selection process," Duncan said. "Five states have gone outside the rules with their delegate selection process, and they have been made fully aware of what the consequences will be."

The Iowa and Nevada caucuses are also scheduled to be held before February 5, but these two states will avoid being penalized because caucuses do not assign binding delegates to the convention.

Reacting to the news, several state party leaders said they still expect their full delegation will be allowed to participate in the convention.

“I remain confident that all of Michigan's 60 national delegates will be seated next year in Minneapolis-St. Paul," Michigan GOP Chairman Saul Anuzis said in a statement. "Today’s action by the RNC was expected and, while disappointing, it is just one part of a long process toward the convention next September."

Florida GOP Chairman Jim Greer also said he is "confident that Florida will ultimately seat its full delegation."

Meanwhile New Hampshire GOP Chair Fergus Cullen said he wasn’t surprised and suggested the RNC's ruling will not diminish New Hampshire's historically influential role in the nomination process.

"No one remembers the number of delegates John McCain won in 2000, what they remember is that he won with 49% of the vote," he said. "The New Hampshire primary has never been about the number of delegates at stake."

South Carolina GOP Chairman Katon Dawson also suggested his state's primary will remain influential and said losing delegates was worth sacrificing for its early spot in the calendar.

"We have been outside the window the entire time and we knew that," he said. "We have always felt the South Carolina Republican primary will be the first in the South primary and we were willing to sacrifice a few delegates to make sure that 700,000 primary voters would have their voices heard."

And Amy Larimer, the executive director of the Wyoming GOP, said, “We knew that this was coming when we made our decision in August. At the end of the day, this is amongst friends. We knew what we were up against."

- CNN's Alexander Mooney, Lauren Kornreich, Peter Hamby, and Laura Bernardini

Filed under: Florida • Michigan • New Hampshire • RNC • South Carolina • Wyoming
soundoff (28 Responses)
  1. demwit

    Here's a novel idea. Why don't we all vote on the same day??

    November 8, 2007 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  2. Marcia - Detroit, MI

    It's so conniving to move the primaries – whether Republican or Democratic – to a time when it will be advantageous to one party. Just let the people speak , keep the dates the same as they were. This is ridiculous and both parties should be forced to stay w. the same dates.

    November 8, 2007 07:08 pm at 7:08 pm |
  3. John Adkisson, Sacramento, Calfornia

    As a Democrat supporting Obama I hope this decision stands through the New Hampshire primary. If it does, the cross-over independents to the Democratic primary should be astounding - and goodbye Clinton!

    November 8, 2007 09:10 pm at 9:10 pm |
  4. Mike, Baltimore, Maryland

    Funny how the 'law and order' party can't seem to follow rules, and then each of the state party leaders just shrug it off.

    November 8, 2007 09:25 pm at 9:25 pm |
  5. Terry, El Paso, TX

    So the Republican Party – also known as the States' Rights party – believes that central control of the states is best. It simply does not matter if New Hampshire or Florida believes it knows best how to manage its own affairs. The parental RNC knows best.

    It will be interesting if stripping New Hampshire, Florida, South Carolina, Michigan and Wyoming of half their votes results in one candidate being nominated instead of the other. Let us imagine that Giuliani wins the nomination by a few votes, but only because half of Romney's Florida delegation votes were tossed out. The "nominee" would be considered illegitimate by half the convention. They are setting themselves up for some serious potential problems.

    November 9, 2007 08:04 am at 8:04 am |
  6. Max, NYC NY

    Haven't many pundits been suggesting that FL could be Rudy's chance to pick up a significant number of delegates after likely wins by Mitt in the earlier (and smaller) states?

    I think this move hurts Rudy more Mitt – not that I'm pulling for (nor would I vote for) either one.

    November 9, 2007 09:17 am at 9:17 am |
  7. sevens7777 Frisco, Tx

    Couldn't have said it better Terry of El Paso. I think the RNC thinks RNC means Righteous, Nice, and Controling. RNC to me is Real Nut Cases, does sound about right.

    November 9, 2007 09:24 am at 9:24 am |
  8. Tired of W, OH

    Bad States! Bad States! Bow down to your masters!

    November 9, 2007 09:30 am at 9:30 am |
  9. MIke ,Panama City, FL

    The GOP is already in BAD BAD shape , this only adds more fuel to voter discontent for the GOP party , This will make winning the white house a looong looong long shot

    November 9, 2007 09:42 am at 9:42 am |
  10. Richard, Ewing, NJ

    The fact of the matters is both parties try to control the primary too early. The RNC response is significantly milder than the DNC repsonse. Howard Dean has issue a full warning to Flordia that ALL of its delegates will be thrown out if Florida determined to hold its primary on Jan 29,2008.

    We are essentially having primaries earlier and earlies not because of national interest, rather each state want to be the first to influence the election process.If this is not somehow regulated, we will have primary moves up earlier the year after, and the earlier the year after that.

    New Hampshire GOP Chair Cullen is correct. New Hampshire is such an important state for primary simply because it goes first, not the actual number of delegates, which is why he rather risk losing half of its delegates.

    Now, losing all of its delegates is quite a different thing - the Howard Dean. That will basically eliminate all its influence. Dean came out way too strong. If he back off now, no other state will take him serious, but if he goes on ahead, he can harm the chance of Democrat getting the Florida votes - which is the largest battleground electoral votes. Yes, Calif, Texas, New York have more votes, but they are not battleground state, Florida is.

    November 9, 2007 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  11. joseph,austin,tx

    I agree Terry, the repubs need to get back to their traditions. small fed govt, strong state govt. Im more repub then anything but they cant afford to be making demands right now, let the states work big bro.

    November 9, 2007 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  12. Jim Topeka, Kansas

    States Rights are the corner stone of the new Republican (Southern Democrates) Party, that is unless they don't do what the party tells them to do.

    I am still trying to figure out when the Republican Party that held the Union together with a strong cental government, became the party of the strong states rights which was the rallying cry of the Confederate States of America.

    November 9, 2007 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  13. Steve Blaine Washington

    The only thing they are succeeding in doing is helping along the formation of a 3rd party and the ultimate selection of their candidate to the Presidency of the USA with of course the help of the Deomocratic party..

    November 9, 2007 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  14. Chris, Pensacola FL

    There has to be a conspiracy to all these primary movements. What is it about these five states that matter? I hope someone out there can connect the dots whether they be commies or free lance journalists.

    November 9, 2007 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  15. Wynter, Loudon, NH

    The states need to get out of the business of shuffling scheduled dates and take this up with the committees during the off-season. All this does is destroy the morale of an already annoyed electorate. This is just for the primary, but it translates voter turnout. If no one listens to your state during the primary why vote in the full election.

    Telling it like I see it,

    November 9, 2007 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  16. Kevin, Princeton NJ

    I think the issue here is that these states are all having ego battles to say "Hey look, we're first! Look at us!" and it's creating a ridiculous situation for the candidates who are desperately trying to win the initial nominations to gain momentum. But as the states jostle for position, the candidates are neglecting other states.

    The system is already screwy, and the voters are just getting more and more frustrated the the political game playing that's happening across the entire spectrum. It's just a matter of who draws the most ire, Repubs or Dems. Independents are definitely appearing to be a viable option.

    November 9, 2007 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  17. Scum Sucking Lawyer, Fort Lauderdale, FL

    As a Floridian, I foresee more and more legal battles of these types of issue. Florida Democratic party has already filed a lawsuit against the DNC regarding stripping of its delegates. Florida Democrats are not contributing to the national campaigns because of the DNC's decision. Now, the RNC is stripping delegates as well. What a crock! Just wait; there'll be another "2000 Election Fiasco" brewing in the South for '08.

    November 9, 2007 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  18. summus

    Political Parties are NOT in the Constitution. They are NOT supposed to play any role in the process of electing nominees. We need to outlaw political parties NOW !!!!!!!!!!!

    November 9, 2007 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  19. Robert, Shelton, CT

    Both parties are making really bad decisions which are gonna anger voters with these "primary wars". The national ticket might hurt the Republicans cause of this, but that said all incumbants are gonna experience major blows this time around, people are sick of pandering in politics, time for my Congressman Shays to be shown the door.

    November 9, 2007 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  20. Jim, Cocoa Beach Florida

    I hope a serious look at the primary process and a comprimise that all states can live with comes out of this. Otherwise this primary situation is just going to get worse.

    November 9, 2007 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  21. Richard, Ewing, NJ

    In replying to Jim Topeka, Kansas

    The answer is Barry Goldwater

    The modern Republican Party did not become the Southern Democrats. The Southern Democrats turn into Repubicans when Libertarian ideas are injected into Republican Party by Goldwater. FDR Democrats also turn into Republicans (known as neocon) starting as early as Truman, but really started around Johnson era and finalized during Reagan. You are spinning things upside down, as if the earth is revolving around the moon. Yes, I am sure if you are looking from moon, that is what it looks like.

    November 9, 2007 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  22. Brian, Denver CO

    There's got to be a better system than the primary system.

    November 9, 2007 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  23. Michael, Lafayette, Indiana

    If the States expected the parties reaction, then the punishment by the party to the states is mute. The states got what they wanted a feeling of importance in the upcoming Convention selection. And in responce to the previous poster Mr. Adkisson, Sir no amount of mono-tone speaking and courtroom style appearances and speeches will save Mr.Obama from Mrs. Clinton, she is already well beyond him and the others both in the polls and in the public and should stick to building his resume in the Senate before taking on somethign a big as a national election and that coming from a fellow Democrat.

    November 9, 2007 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  24. Henry Miller, Cary, NC

    To summus:

    You're right, political parties aren't in the Constitution–they're neither endorsed nor prohibited.

    That's not because the people who wrote the Constitution didn't know about the possibility of political parties–they certainly did–but, I suspect, they knew that parties were going to happen no matter what they said. You can't stop a group of people from hanging out together and collectively picking someone they like to run for office.

    That said, though, I see nothing in the Constitution permitting their tacit incorporation into government, manifested by things like arranging for ballot access to third parties being made legally difficult. That's the sort of thing that should be remedied, not the parties themselves.

    November 9, 2007 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  25. G. Rasputin, Lakeland FL

    "I am still trying to figure out when the Republican Party that held the Union together with a strong cental government, became the party of the strong states rights which was the rallying cry of the Confederate States of America."

    Jim – "Dixie"-crats became States' Rights Republicans when Lyndon Johnson championed Civil Rights for African Americans. As the Party of FDR slid further toward the Left and the Party of the Union slid further toward the right, Southern Democrats made the switch.

    November 9, 2007 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
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