Republicans approve 'super penalty' measure to rescue primary calendar
August 22nd, 2012
04:59 PM ET
10 years ago

Republicans approve 'super penalty' measure to rescue primary calendar

Tampa, Florida (CNN) - The Republican National Committee moved Wednesday to enact harsh penalties for states that disrupt the carefully-ordered presidential primary calendar.

The effort to bring stability to a primary process that has been next to chaotic for two consecutive presidential cycles took place at a meeting of the RNC Rules Committee in Tampa, the site of next week's GOP Convention.

- Follow the Ticker on Twitter: @PoliticalTicker

- Follow Peter Hamby on Twitter: @PeterHambyCNN

Florida's decision last year to leapfrog ahead of other states and hold their Republican primary in January made a mess of the nominating calendar and sparked months of GOP infighting over delegate counts and penalties.

The ostensible purpose of the new amendment is to protect the first four February "carve out" states on the Republican calendar: Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada.

The rules committee had previously approved a measure protecting those four states from being penalized if they are forced to move up their primary dates to stay ahead of other rule-breaking states, as they did last winter.

But on Wednesday, the rules committee went a step further, approving a so-called "super penalty" that would strip offending primary states of all but nine delegates to the convention.

That means that just nine Republican delegates, instead of their usual 99, would be up for grabs in Florida in the next presidential cycle if the state blows up the calendar and holds a primary – vastly reducing Florida's influence on the nominating process.

"Nobody is going to spend money in Florida if you only get nine delegates," said Steve Duprey, a New Hampshire RNC member who backed the "super penalty" amendment.

Under current RNC rules – the rules governing next week's convention – states other than the first four "carve-outs" must hold their primaries after March 1, or have their delegations reduced by half.

Under the proposed "super penalty" rule, the firewall moves up to the last Tuesday in February - a deal cut to protect Michigan and Arizona, two states that hold primaries on the last Tuesday in February as required by law, from the most drastic penalty. They would still have their delegations sliced in half, however.

The rule change must be voted on Thursday by a meeting of the full 168-member RNC.

- Check out the CNN Electoral Map and Calculator and game out your own strategy for November.

Filed under: 2012 • Iowa • Nevada • New Hampshire • Republican National Convention • South Carolina
soundoff (17 Responses)
  1. Connie in Tennessee

    Please don't let Florida decide who will be President again!! Do away with electorial college and go with popular vote.

    August 22, 2012 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  2. anagram_kid

    Time to do away with this and hold all primaries on the same day.

    August 22, 2012 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  3. cali girl

    Anagram kid well said

    August 22, 2012 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  4. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    This is from the pages of "Animal House" where the Dean puts the fraternity on "Double Secret Probation."

    August 22, 2012 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  5. pntherpaw86

    Just one more way Republicans are against voting. Your vote doesn't matter to them. If they are willing to dismiss the voice of a significant portion of their own party, it's no wonder that they are trying to suppress votes for this year's presidential election too.

    August 22, 2012 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  6. GonzoinHouston

    Rotating regional primaries
    Move election day to Saturday
    Eliminate the Electoral College and elect the Pres. on popular vote
    If no candidate gets 50+% hold a runoff one week later.
    Is this too complicated?

    August 22, 2012 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  7. just sayin


    Rotating regional primaries
    Move election day to Saturday
    Eliminate the Electoral College and elect the Pres. on popular vote
    If no candidate gets 50+% hold a runoff one week later.
    Is this too complicated?
    so you want to change our entire form of government? maybe we can have votes of no confidence too? at least that way we could have gotten rid of obama a lot sooner than now.

    August 22, 2012 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  8. Jim

    Well now . . . the states have no right to define their own processes? The RNC will dictate what each state must do and in what order they are going to be permitted to do it? Seems to me that the RNC shouldn't have ANY say in the matter, nor should the federal government. How and when states conduct their elections is none of the RNC's business.

    August 22, 2012 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  9. CBR

    States should schedule their primaries. The Constitution calls for voting on the first Tuesday in November.This long drawn out process like the Republicans had this year was not a success. Now they want to change it.

    Not sure Congress has the authority to do this.

    August 22, 2012 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  10. Hahahahahahahah

    GOP can't even get their primaries right. Hahahahahahahaha

    August 22, 2012 06:14 pm at 6:14 pm |
  11. GonzoinHouston

    Change our whole system of government? No, representative democracy still works best. But the electoral college was an idea to facilitate elections scattered over 13 states when information moved on horseback. And nobody planned anything for our primary system; it just sort of grew. Why on earth New Hampshire and Iowa deserve such special treatment is beyond me. This election will be decided by 6-8 states' elections, and neither party gives a hoot about the rest of us. Almost 75% of the electorate is effectively disenfranchised.

    August 22, 2012 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  12. Joe from CT, not Lieberman

    It's easy. Let Iowa and New Hampshire pretent they are still important by letting them Caucus and hold their primaries on the 1st and 3rd Tuesdays in February. Hold the Primaries for the 8 smallest states (based on population) on the 1st Tuesday in March. Hold the Primaries for the next 10 smallest states on the 3rd Tuesday in March. Hold the Primaries for the next 10 states on the 1st Tuesday in April. That takes care of 30 states. At some point, you can include the territories in this group, too. Hold the next 5 states (they start getting exponentially bigger now) on the 3rd Tuesday in April. The next 5 on the first Tuesday in May. That's 40. Hold the next 5 on the third Tuesday in May. Then hold New York, Texas, Florida, California and whoever is the 5th largest on the first Tuesday in June. The penalty for jumping the gun? A state loses ALL of its delegates – no just those elected for the primaries, but also the "super delegates". Any candidate who claims he cannot run that way has no business running for office. Also, by placing the big states at the end, every candidate will still be in play.

    August 22, 2012 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  13. getreal

    Repugs can't even organize primary elections, much less run a country. They have made every effort to cheat voters out of a fair election. Superpacs, gerrymandering, voter ID restrictions, early voting restrictions, etc. Yet, they will still lose because they have alienated nearly every voting sector, except for rich old white men.

    August 22, 2012 08:46 pm at 8:46 pm |
  14. Orsdel

    Please, by all means do NOT resolve this... let them squabble and be divided, It is what is best for America!

    August 22, 2012 08:56 pm at 8:56 pm |
  15. A not-so-stupid former republican

    I thought the repukes stood for less government, less regulation, and more freedom! I guess they trust their own party members to function without more regulation, penalties for non-confommance, and strict marching orders. Sounds like the Gestapo may be rising again within the republican party.

    August 22, 2012 10:44 pm at 10:44 pm |
  16. Morgan Hill

    Repugs are so, but we all know that by now. Romney, Ryan and Atkin are a bunch of idiot clowns running a pretty funny show. Keep it up romney team, we love a good laugh.

    August 23, 2012 12:49 am at 12:49 am |
  17. ValarMorghulis

    Dump the Republican Party. Its sole purpose is to perpetuate power at the top at the expense of the voter. The rules are meant to advance only those who maintain purity with the party platform.

    August 23, 2012 02:09 am at 2:09 am |