Battle erupts over GOP convention in Tampa
March 31st, 2011
11:44 AM ET
12 years ago

Battle erupts over GOP convention in Tampa

Washington (CNN) – The South Carolina and Iowa Republican parties on Thursday demanded that the 2012 Republican National Convention in Tampa be re-located to a different state unless Florida Republicans move their presidential primary to a later date.

Florida's primary is currently slated for January 31, 2012.

That's in direct violation of the presidential nominating calendar ratified last year by the Democratic and Republican National Committees, which carved out February for the official start of the nomination fight and once again placed contests in Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina at the front of the process.

South Carolina GOP Chairwoman Karen Floyd, eager to protect her state's influential role in primary process, sent a letter to Republican National Committee members Thursday accusing the Florida legislature of "thumbing its nose at the RNC" by ignoring the agreed-upon calendar.

Florida's primary date can only be adjusted through legislation. Republicans control both house of the Florida legislature as well as the governor's mansion.

"Simply put, if Florida does not respect the process by which our primary calendar was set, the RNC should not be bound to the process by which the convention site was selected," Floyd wrote.

Floyd's move was immediately endorsed by Iowa GOP Chairman Matthew Strawn. The Iowa caucuses are tentatively scheduled for February 6, 2012.

Floyd asked the RNC to convene a task force to search for new convention sites. She proposed re-locating the event to one of the states currently embroiled in high-profile labor fights, like Ohio or Wisconsin.

She also said the convention could take place in a key Senate battleground state such as Virginia, Missouri or Michigan. Or the RNC could choose a city in North Carolina to rival the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, she said.

"My purpose today is just to begin the dialogue," Floyd told reporters on a conference call Thursday, noting that she had already received encouragement from RNC members in other states.

Florida Republicans, Floyd said, feel "emboldened" to flout the national party rules because Tampa was chosen to host the 2012 Republican National Convention.

The RNC can punish states that violate the approved calendar by stripping them of convention delegates, but Florida House Speaker Dean Cannon recently suggested to CNN that any delegate penalties imposed on his state by the RNC would be largely irrelevant simply because Florida is hosting the convention.

But Cannon tersely brushed off Floyd's proposal Thursday.

"I look forward to meeting the delegates from South Carolina in Tampa next summer," Cannon told CNN.

UPDATE: A spokesman for the Republican National Committee said Thursday that the convention plans will not change.

"The convention will be in Tampa." said RNC spokesman Sean Spicer. "At the same time, we will enforce the rules agreed to by all states with respect to the primary and caucus calendar."

Filed under: Florida • Iowa • Republican National Convention • RNC • South Carolina
soundoff (25 Responses)
  1. Rudy NYC

    This just goes to show how much agreement exists within the GOP. It shows how much mutual agreements mean to some members of the GOP. It shows the overblown sense of self determination in some members of the GOP.

    Doesn't this show how they honor agreements, negotiate budgets with Democrats? If they are willing to do this to their own colleagues, imagine what they would do to political foes?

    March 31, 2011 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  2. Rick McDaniel

    This stupidity about who is first, in the process, has become a total turn off to politicians and especially the states demanding their state be first.

    Personally, i object to any state that tries to place their state first, and who uses the political process for attention getting for their state. That's so petty, it resembles 2 yr. old kids, arguing over candy. Totally disgusting, to put it mildly.

    March 31, 2011 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  3. PalmReader

    Apparently there is nothing the GOPers won't fight over anymore, even within their own Party. Doesn't bode well for 2012. All of this in-fighting between the GOPers and the TeaPers is doing nothing but continuing the fracturing of an already leaderless Party. Can't say they haven't been warned. Moving the Republican Convention to a *high profile* labor union battling State such as Ohio or Wisconsin would be the worst decision GOPers could make. And people wonder why nothing is getting done in Washington anymore. How can the Democrats be expected to compromise with a Party that isn't willing to compromise within its OWN ranks anymore?

    March 31, 2011 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  4. sbast18

    This is the sort of childish CRAP that causes the Republicans to lose face. You guys need to grow up and play by your own rules. I swear, if the Tea Party or Democrats weren't worse, I would switch. But I'll tell ya something: I stopped voting straight Republican ticket a while back – and garbage like this is exactly why. You're like big kids in a toddlers sandbox when you get absolute control over something. Now isn't it just grand that we elect you guys, not because we believe in you but, because you're the lesser of three evils? Must make you proud. GROW UP AND DO YOUR DAMNED JOB.

    March 31, 2011 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  5. Anonymous

    Yes- that's the important issue of the campaign- who holds a primary when.
    How about figuring out real issues?

    March 31, 2011 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |

    This is rubbish.

    March 31, 2011 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  7. Anonymous

    At what point are the parties going to agree to end the arbitrary schedule of primaries and just hold them all on the same day?

    March 31, 2011 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  8. once upon a horse

    GOP infighting? See what happens when you vote these folks into any kind of power? It's long been said that the GOP can NOT govern but there were too many "angry voters" out there that wouldn't listen to the truth. Thank God I wasn't one of them.

    March 31, 2011 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  9. Ed

    Just another exhibit in the case against the two-party system. One party defines itself by trying to push its special-interest agenda into law when they are in power. The other party defines itself by doing everything possible to obstruct the party in power and blame them for all the nation's problems. Every few years, they trade places.

    How's this for an idea? Hold a one-day national primary in May of election years that anyone can enter, regardless of political affiliation, maybe just pay a $1 million entry fee. Those who get more than 5% of the vote get into the next round in August. The two top people from that round face off in November. Whoever gets more popular votes (not electoral votes) in November becomes President. Repeat every four years.

    March 31, 2011 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  10. Joe from CT, not Lieberman

    The Republicans are doing the right thing currently in the primaries, in that they are awarding delegates based on percentage of votes. Now they and the Democrats need to reschedule the calendar so the primaries are not front-loaded. Have the first primary block after Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina based on population. Let the 10 smallest states hold their primaries and caucuses that day. This way a candidate doesn't have to go broke trying to campaign in Florida, Texas, California or New York in the beginning (a budget buster for someone long on ideas but short on cash). Then for each subsequent primary date go to the next larger bloc of states. By the time the four most populous states are ready, the donors will see how viable each candidate is and can determine whether they will receive support, or not, for those big races.

    March 31, 2011 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  11. Dean

    Way to go GOP. Show the world just how petty you really are.

    March 31, 2011 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  12. Big_D

    The GOP seems to lack a solution or even a plan for anything.

    March 31, 2011 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  13. Joe from CT, not Lieberman

    Sure. Move the convention to Ohio or Wisconsin. Then watch as all the Hotel and Food Service workers pick that week to go on strike over unsafe working conditions. Leave 'em stranded in Appleton, or Columbus!

    March 31, 2011 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  14. Greg in Arkansas

    All we heard from the GOP prior to the past election was JOBS, JOBS, JOBS and we know what they have done since then so Now all we hear is fighting about where they will hold thier next party......
    Didn't expect much from the GOP so I am not disappointed much either.

    March 31, 2011 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  15. Florida Joe

    Oh Oh the sound like Democrats...fighting with eachother......What a bunch of schoolkids.....Maybe they should be looking for something like a VIABLE CANDIDATE...what a concept

    March 31, 2011 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  16. ThinkAgain

    Bully tactics, blackmailing, my way or the highway. Yep, sounds like the Tea Party. Just a bunch of no-nothing, self-centered cry babies!

    March 31, 2011 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  17. ThinkAgain

    Rick McDaniel: This is probably the first time I've agreed with you ... knock me over with a feather! 🙂

    I think there should be a national primary and then the general election. For one thing, it would make candidates visit all the states, and not just the "battleground" ones. And it would eliminate this myth that the people of Iowa somehow determine who our next president will be.

    With all due respect, our country is much more diverse than Iowa, economically, socially, politically, ethnically, etc., etc., etc. (And may I remind everyone that NYC is just as much the "heartland" of American as is the Midwest; you do remember the heroic and selfless actions of the people of NYC and the surrounding areas on 9/11, right?)

    March 31, 2011 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  18. ThinkAgain

    This is just yet another example of how rigid and extreme the GOP has become – and what a bunch of bullies they are.

    March 31, 2011 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  19. U.S. Common Sense

    The author left out key points:
    – when was the Convention site chosen
    – when did Florida set the date to hold their primary on 1/31/12
    – when was the presidential nominating calendar ratified

    If the presidential nominating calendar was ratified after the Tampa location was chosen and after the primary date in Florida was set, then I don't see how Florida can be at fault here. Therefore, penalizing them by not counting their delegates would be a slap in the face of the voters for something that wasn't their fault.

    March 31, 2011 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  20. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    ...And as someone else so beautifully suggested, I hope that wherever you end up having your little convention that the hiotel workers, and food workers go on STRIKE during that time.
    Poetic justice. Indeed.

    March 31, 2011 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  21. al in memphis

    My states want the limelight first, no my states want its, –give it to me , it mines.

    If that sounds childish to you, then you have passed the hearing test. I say there should be 4 dates. Let the canidates campaign for a period for each region, then vote. Make the campaign about their ideas and solutions, not about how their political machine can build up momemtun

    March 31, 2011 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  22. Rob from Georgia

    There is nothing more entertaining than a pachyderm fight. Republicans, today, remind me of Democrats in the 1960s. A constant squalling, squealing, and sputtering from the losers on the right is so much more fun than the Democrats these days. Democrats have developed some dignity, but the right wing is demonstrating just how thin is the veneer of civilisation. Anyone for popcorn?

    March 31, 2011 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  23. Dan

    I hope that wher ever they hold their convention that it is union facility, and the sound people and electricians are all union, well maybe the electricians can be non certified scabs.

    March 31, 2011 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  24. The Other Campaign Strategist from 115th & Amsterdam Ave

    Let's call this what it is. The religious, and evangelical fanatics that dominate the Iowa and South Carolina caucuses / ballos want a chance to INSTALL their favorites as the front runners in the GOP race.

    They know that through the nominating process, the winner will have to move to the CENTER to be more accesptable to Independents that determine elections and they want to ANCHOR that person as far to the right as they can – as EARLY as they can.

    The key to winning is to have solutions to America's problems. THAT MEANS HAVE A PLAN – with dates, metrics & milestones to measure progress.

    It have been 1,001 days since any Republican brought forth a solution for the country. Tomorrow it will be 1,002 days.

    March 31, 2011 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  25. normajean

    The Republicans can't even get along with their own. No wonder they have just about finished off this country with their govenors taking over the states and trash ing everything in sight. DO YOU REPUBS ACTUALLY THINK THAT THE VOTERS ARE GOING TO IGNORE WHAT YOU ARE DOING NOW AND VOTE FOR YOU IN 2012???? dream on. There are going to be a lot of Repub politicians in the unemployment lines where they all belong . Your lying, cheating, self centered days are over !!!!!!!.

    March 31, 2011 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |