RNC chairman warns Florida about primary date
August 3rd, 2011
12:48 PM ET
11 years ago

RNC chairman warns Florida about primary date

Tampa, Florida (CNN) - Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus is again warning Florida Republicans that they will be punished if they fail to move their 2012 presidential primary to a later date, in compliance with national party rules.

"I can appreciate and respect the viewpoints of people here in Florida that want to move their calendar date," Priebus said Wednesday during a press conference promoting next year's Republican National Convention in Tampa. "But it doesn't change my responsibility to enforce the rules, which is you lose half your delegates [to the convention]. That's a pretty rough rule."

Republican legislators and activists in Florida want their primary to come fifth in the nominating process, after the traditional first four caucus and primary states hold their contests in February of next year.

The Florida primary is currently set for Jan. 31 of next year, putting the state in violation of RNC rules that forbid any state other than the first four from holding a primary prior to March 6.

Florida legislators have signaled a willingness to move the contest into early March after the first four states, and have set up a commission to examine the calendar issue, but Florida's convention delegation would still be penalized if the new date falls before that second week in March.

Katie Betta, a spokeswoman for Florida House Speaker Dean Cannon, said legislative leaders are still eyeing how other states are handling their primary and caucus decisions before deciding what to do. Arizona, Georgia and Michigan are also considering holding early contests in violation of RNC rules.

Florida has until Oct. 1 to choose a primary date.

"Speaker Cannon isn't wed to a particular date or place in line," Betta told CNN. "Ultimately he supports choosing a date that will allow Florida to remain a relevant player in the process. For him, that requires selecting a date that is both early and unique to Florida. We will have a better picture of what that date might be as other states begin to make their decisions."

Making the process even trickier for GOP officials is the convention's location in downtown Tampa. If Florida's convention delegation is penalized, the national party would essentially be excluding their Republican hosts from a party in their own backyard.

Priebus said he hopes the delegate problem can be avoided and hinted that the committee may be able to find a solution at the convention next August.

"My sense is, on the committee, there is a desire to enforce the rules and have the rules stick," he said. "That's something we should work out with the nominee."

Florida National Committeewoman Sharon Day expressed support for the RNC calendar rules but said state party activists aren't necessarily fretting about being excluded from next year's convention festivities.

"I think they do understand [the rules]," Day said, "but sometimes in general you don't understand what you don't want to hear."

RNC officials are gathered in Tampa this week for their annual summer meeting, roughly a year before they will again descend to the city to officially nominate a Republican challenger to President Barack Obama.

Addressing a small army of local television cameras Wednesday, Priebus said the convention will draw over 45,000 people to the Tampa-St. Petersburg area and generate more than $175 million in revenue for the region.

"This is a Super Bowl times four," he boasted. "This is probably the biggest event that the Tampa Bay community has ever put on thus far."

With the convention set to fall smack in the middle of hurricane season, Priebus said the RNC was already working out contingency plans with local officials.

"We have put our faith in God that hurricanes won't be here," he said.

Filed under: 2012 • Florida • Reince Priebus • RNC
soundoff (22 Responses)
  1. NVa Native

    This guy is of the highest order of weenie. The true self of the Repub/tea-bagger clan.

    "Be afraid, be very afraid"

    August 3, 2011 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  2. GI Joe

    As another person put it a few days ago, Reince Priebus = RNC PR BS (remove the vowels from his name). Anything else?

    August 3, 2011 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  3. Rudy NYC

    Not only are they in violation of RNC rules, they are in violation of long standing agreements between Democrats and Republicans in regard to scheduling primaries. This is issue goes back to 2009 when the Florida legislature voted to change their date over RNC objections.

    But, hey! These are Republicans we are talking about. Rules are for fools. Agreements are made to be broken. Reneging is the way of the hard right wing.

    August 3, 2011 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  4. Rudy NYC

    How much you want to bet that this will end up in the courts with Florida voters getting the GOP end of the stick? I'd bet they even find a way to blame this mess on Obama, because it was the 2008 Democratic primaries that instigated the entire change of date thing anyway.

    August 3, 2011 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  5. king

    the RNC need to warn folks on the clamadity their party og austerity is about to cause this country. theyve been working on destroying consumer confidence for the longest time, and dont realize that consumer spending is almost 80 percent of this economy. they want to cut away the spenders money who spends more than the rich in our economy, yet they are baffled why customers are not going into the local businesses and ordering goods and services. how can you dream to cut a whole trillion dollars at this moment when the economy is just trying to keep afloat. when obama came out with a measly 800 billion dollars stimulus, when the country was losing 800 thousand dollars a month, and was projected to lose 10 million at the end of the year, the repugs went crazy, even though that small amount of money changed around the momentum now they want to cut 1 trillion of consumer spending money and jobs, and expect things to be alright, what planet is these folks on!

    August 3, 2011 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  6. Disgusted by hypocrisy

    "We have put our faith in God that hurricanes won't be here," he said. Really !! So now you can pray away Hurricanes too. First you could pray away "gay". Then you culd pray away the "debit ceiling" Fascinating how ridiculous and clueless these people are and yet they still run our Country. Heaven forbid (pun intended) we elect officals who are convinced their prayers will solve everything, when in fact they have solved nothing, but allow them license to continue in the "name of God" As if that absolves them from any responsibility.

    August 3, 2011 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  7. ConservaFASCISTS/ConservaTERRORISTS

    I sure hope that masogonistic pig Allen West is up for reelection.

    August 3, 2011 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  8. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    What difference does it make because the votes in Florida don't count, the Republicans override all votes in their favor.

    August 3, 2011 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  9. EatRunDive

    If he has put his faith with God that hurricanes won't be there, why the contingency plans?

    August 3, 2011 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  10. JD in Moraga, CA

    Well, if everyone violates the rules and loses half of their delegates then there's no substantive loss right? It would just mean fewer chairs in the auditorium...hmmm, that could be a good thing.

    August 3, 2011 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  11. thomas

    Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus would be more useful talking to Florida Governor Rick Scott about his support of prescription drug mills that are destroying people in the great state of Florida at the same time making Scotts friends rich!

    Supporting peoples addiction , then demanding they take a drug test is like drinking for sobriety !

    Sounds similar to the RNCs agenda .

    August 3, 2011 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  12. thomas

    CNN , great photo !
    Reince Priebus looks like Bobby Darin singing Splish Splash I was taking a bath .

    August 3, 2011 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  13. Dan from Tx

    Let the States have their rights!!

    August 3, 2011 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  14. Rudy NYC

    Florida National Committeewoman Sharon Day expressed support for the RNC calendar rules but said state party activists aren't necessarily fretting about being excluded from next year's convention festivities.

    "I think they do understand [the rules]," Day said, "but sometimes in general you don't understand what you don't want to hear."
    By "activists" they mean the Tea Partiers. They are out the change how things are done, and destroy everything in the process. They seem to think the best way to renovate a house is not to make selective repairs, but to completely raze it and start over from scratch. They think their design is the only design in town, even if though their design doesn't serve the function that it needs to. (Kitchen? We don't need a kitchen. We can eat out.)

    August 3, 2011 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  15. vic , nashville ,tn

    1) Who care many won’t participate in the primary because by the time seniors will see cut in the Medicare and social
    2) GOP always advocate let stats decide what they want to do

    August 3, 2011 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  16. The Day of Financial Reckoning is HERE - The Great Democrat Welfare Society Ends

    OK people, just stay in line, keep it civil, no stampeding. Looks like everybody wants to be the first to pick Obama's replacement!

    August 3, 2011 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  17. GOP = I got mine, screw you.

    So the stock market continues to take a dump after the GOP creates another financial crisis. And their fix is a job killing bill that the reatcion is to pull money out of our stock market. But the loyal tea-sheep will blame Obama for this and the rain clouds up and down the east coast.

    Hey GOP – where are the jobs bills you campaigned on?

    August 3, 2011 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  18. Dan J

    If there is any chance of having a moderate president elected next year, we need a battleground state to be the first republican primary. If the republicans want someone who can beat Obama, they need the states that carry the most moderate republicans on board first.

    August 3, 2011 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  19. Rick McDaniel

    The party has no say so, over when a state holds their elections........take it and shove it RNC chair.

    August 3, 2011 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  20. gandoman

    The Old & New republican NAZI party is having birthing pangs.
    First they gave birth to hundreds of mentally handicapped little Tea Party members.
    Then they watch their older generation rant & rave & posture like an elephant in heat.
    After which, they threaten an entire state as if the state is already in their political base.
    The only difference between LEADERSHIP in the GOP & NAZI GERMANY is the Germans had a leader with charisma & a plan with long term goals for the country.
    The republicans have no one with charisma, no one with a long term solution to America's problems & absolutely no one who is capable of uniting the country.
    How pathetic has the GOP become? ..... John "Maverick My Ass" McCain introduced Sarah Palinitis (she is a minor infection) to the world.
    Can anyone think of anything that is more pathetic than that?

    August 3, 2011 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  21. Done With You All

    Tell this guy to STUFF IT, We ARE TEA PARTY, so dont let the door hit you on the way out of Florida, Time for succession from the union, Florida can stand on its own, charge the Dems to vacation here.

    August 3, 2011 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  22. patNY

    If only the Democrats weren't so draconian in their punishment with Florida and Michigan in 2008, we'd be talking about President Hilary Clinton and probably still have a Democrat Congress and better times.

    August 3, 2011 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |