RNC mulls stiffer penalties for states violating primary calendar
August 3rd, 2011
09:01 PM ET
3 years ago

RNC mulls stiffer penalties for states violating primary calendar

Tampa, Florida (CNN) - With the 2012 GOP primary calendar looking more fragile with each passing day, the Republican National Committee is now considering more drastic penalties for states threatening to hold early primary contests in violation of party rules.

Multiple states, including Florida, Colorado, Arizona and Michigan, are debating whether to hold early caucuses or primaries in hopes of wielding greater influence over the Republican presidential nomination process.

According to RNC rules ratified in 2010, if any of those states jump the line and hold an electoral contest before March 6, their delegations to the Republican National Convention would be sliced in half.

But with those states showing little sign of backing down - and with the four early voting states of Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina vowing to protect their cherished status by moving their caucuses and primaries into January of 2012 - members of the RNC Rules Committee are planning to offer a resolution Thursday to strengthen the penalties.

Rules Committee members now want to take advantage of a clause in RNC bylaws that would strip offending state delegations of their VIP guest passes and guest privileges at the 2012 convention in downtown Tampa, along with banishing the delegations to inferior seating locations in the convention hall and the worst hotels in the Tampa Bay area.

The rules change is being considered as the RNC gathers in Tampa for their three-day summer meeting, roughly one year before the Republican Party descends on Tampa to crown their presidential nominee at the convention.

Tennessee National Committeman John Ryder, one of the RNC members behind the new push, said he expects the Rules Committee to "call for the maximum enforcement" of the penalties for any state in violation of the calendar when it meets on Thursday.

Stripping delegates of guest passes and prime hotel locations may sound trivial, but Ryder said party officials typically leverage those perks to lure donors and raise money for their political operations.

"The really important thing for the state parties is the VIP passes and the guest passes, because they become things that you use to reward your donors and things like that," Ryder told CNN. "And if you get cut off from that, that actually hurts the state party."

As for the seating arrangements inside the St. Pete Times Forum next August, Ryder said penalized delegations will be struggling for a good view.

"We will find as many posts to put them behind as we can," he said. "The mood of the Rules Committee as near as I can determine to be very serious about enforcing these calendar rules. A great deal of thought time and effort was put into these rules."


Filed under: 2012 • Republican National Committee
soundoff (11 Responses)
  1. pmk1953

    They start campaigning the day after the last election. THAT'S what ought to be reeled in.

    August 3, 2011 09:25 pm at 9:25 pm |
  2. Mr. Moderate

    Yes, it would be terrible if a state that have an even remote resemblance to the demographics of the rest of America would have as obscene an influence in picking the president as places like Iowa and New Hampshire.

    August 3, 2011 09:31 pm at 9:31 pm |
  3. Mr. Moderate

    "Rules Committee members now want to take advantage of a clause in RNC bylaws that would strip offending state delegations of their VIP guest passes and guest privileges at the 2012 convention in downtown Tampa, along with banishing the delegations to inferior seating locations in the convention hall and the worst hotels in the Tampa Bay area."

    Wow the pettiness, vindictiveness and immaturity of this party knows no bounds. They even turn on their own.

    August 3, 2011 09:33 pm at 9:33 pm |
  4. SecedingfromTexas

    That's right you sloggers. We live in a Democrocy, and as such we can tell you what to do, how to do it, and when
    to do it. We believe in State's rights, as long as those States adhere to the laws of the Teapubs. So, just like we
    threaten any candidate or incumbant that does not do as we say, we will now threaten you. I mean, do you really
    want to give up your VIP passes and guest privileges, which apparently can be auctioned off to the highest
    bidder, and then sit behind a pole while you annoint your King? I would think not. You are not here to do what
    is best for America, you are here to destroy any and all who get in your way. So, buck up buster, and start
    your goose step toward oblivion or we will cut your head off! Koch Bros have spoken, so carry on.

    August 3, 2011 09:41 pm at 9:41 pm |
  5. A Repulbican

    Trivial indeed! Maybe you just say the rules are the rules, if you jump then your primary doesn't count. This will solve the issue once and for all, but of course the RNC is not serious about restricting the states. So, I say everyone should just move there's to the first and only day, then everyone would be happy, right?

    August 3, 2011 09:59 pm at 9:59 pm |
  6. Ron

    That's great, but what are you going to do about republican VOTER SUPPRESSION!!?

    August 3, 2011 10:36 pm at 10:36 pm |
  7. Bill in Florida

    Wouldn't it be funny if the Florida delegation got booted to the crappy motels in Tampa?

    August 3, 2011 11:22 pm at 11:22 pm |
  8. Frank138

    No doubt the RNC will follow through with their threat, although the root cause of the offending states like Florida is other early primary states tinkering with THEIR calendars.

    When states decide to schedule THEIR elections is a matter for those individual states, and no one else. The RNC may be well advised to leave it that way if they want the big bucks from states like Florida to keep rolling in. I am from South Central Florida, and down there folks tend to act pretty adversly to threats from anyone.

    August 3, 2011 11:53 pm at 11:53 pm |
  9. MrManhattan

    Maybe the RNC should ask the teabaggers what they want, after all, they're the ones in charge now

    August 4, 2011 01:58 am at 1:58 am |
  10. Donkey Party

    What a complete joke the RNC is.

    August 4, 2011 07:31 am at 7:31 am |
  11. GI Joe

    Wah Wah Wah Wah – Mine Mine Mine Mine – Me Me Me Me – I want I want I want I want

    GROW UP.

    August 4, 2011 07:50 am at 7:50 am |