States Bucking 2012 GOP Primary Calendar Rules

Saturday, 17 Sep 2011 02:03 PM

By Gary Cohen

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Just two weeks remain before the RNC cutoff date for states to schedule their 2012 primary and caucus dates and numerous states are considering bending, if not breaking the rules.

martinez florida primary calendarFormer Florida Gov. Bob Martinez told Politico.com, "Florida and perhaps other states feel with their size they should have greater impact than they've had in the past. "

Adds Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp, "I've been following what Arizona did and I'm still deciding what other states like Michigan and Florida may do."

What Arizona did was announce it would effectively violate RNC rules and conduct its primary on February 28th - that is one week prior to joint RNC-DNC rules allow states to do. Michigan's state legislature is heading on that path for the same date.

RNC-DNC rules permit only Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina to schedule elections prior to the so-called "Super Tuesday elections slated for March 6th. Any other states which schedule elections before March 6th run the risk of having the size of their GOP National Convention delegations sliced in half.

States including Colorado, Louisiana, Maine and Minnesota would not get an automatic penalty from the RNC for going earlier than March 6th because they conduct contests in various stages and would not allocate delegates until far beyond that date.

Maine Republican Party Chairman Charlie Webster says, "What we're doing is really more about helping us continue to build our party."

His counterpart in Colorado, Ryan Call, adds "There's a real sense that Colorado's voice ought to be heard in selecting the candidate who's eventually the nominee." Colorado's state committee is still mulling whether to conduct local caucuses March 6th or February 7th.

RNC member John Ryder from Tennessee points out "If you don't follow the rules, you have chaos." He cautions if the number of calendar violations causes the calendar to be upended, he believes, "the full range of sanctions will be imposed."

The cutoff date by RNC for states to schedule their elections is October 1st.

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