Florida GOP Primary: Winner-Take-All Could Be Taken Away

GOP Chairman Reince Priebus says the Rules Committe may choose to take away Florida's "winner-take-all" status.
TAMPA (2011-12-27) -

The Florida Presidential Preference Primary is just five weeks away. Absentee ballots are already being mailed out across the state, and the last day to register or change party affiliation is January 3.

But there are questions being raised about how much impact those primary votes will actually have.

Florida's Republican leaders broke party rules and moved the primary to January 31 -- which led Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina to move up their contests.

And breaking the rules will have its consequences, as GOP chairman Reince Priebus said earlier this month during a visit to Tampa.

"Since Florida violated the timing rule, they will lose half their delegates," he said.

"On top of that, Florida will be subject to penalties under Rule 16, which are the discretionary penalties, that the rules committee of the RNC will later review and take up," Priebus added.

Florida's delegation has already been cut from 99 to 50. On top of that, the GOP Rules Committee could decide to change Florida from a winner-take-all contest, which is what state leaders want, to a proportional contest, where those 50 delegates would be divided among several candidates.

Priebus said the way he sees it, the rules are clear that Florida could lose its "winner-take-all" primary because it went too early.

If it's a close race, this could lead to something very rare -- fireworks on the convention floor when the GOP comes to Tampa in August.

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