The Republican National Committee’s (RNC’s) rules panel has approved much stricter punishments for any state that holds its primary/caucus before the last Tuesday in February.
The new guidelines exempt Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Nevada. Iowa and New Hampshire have traditionally gone first and second respectively. The RNC is particularly interested in preventing a repeat of Florida’s Jan. 31 primary this year, Politico
The state lost half of its 100 delegates as a penalty, but Florida Republicans took solace in the RNC’s decision to let its 49 alternate delegates sit on the convention floor next week.
If Florida repeats its stunt in 2016, it will lose 91 delegates. “We need a stiff penalty,” said South Carolina national committeeman Glenn McCall, according to Politico. “Just half, it doesn’t matter.”
New Hampshire committeeman Steve Duprey concurs. “We’ve got to come up with an effective penalty to prevent people from jumping,” he said.
The new rules will be discussed again Friday by the convention’s rules committee, which includes representatives from all 50 states, unlike the permanent RNC rules committee. If the change is approved, it will be adopted formally on the convention floor.
Convention rules committee chairman John H. Sununu, former governor of New Hampshire, strongly supports preventing more states from holding early primaries.
In other matters, the RNC rules committee turned down a proposal to reward states with closed primaries. The idea was to give 10 percent more delegates to states that keep non-Republican voters out of their elections.
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