Fla. GOP Push for Early Primary Could Ditch Delegates

Tuesday, 29 Mar 2011 02:07 PM

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A push among Florida’s Republican lawmakers to move up the state’s presidential primary elections without permission from the national party could leave half of its delegation at home when the National Republican Convention opens in Tampa, the Sarasota Herald Tribune reported Tuesday.

David Bitner, chairman of the Florida Republican Party, said he’s asking national party leaders to drop the proposed penalties for states that try to move their primaries to an earlier date without permission. The Legislature sets the date, not the party, he said. In 2008, Florida moved up its primary despite objections from national party officials.

The Republican National Convention’s rules allow only Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Nevada to convene primaries before March 1. States that adopt earlier primaries face the threat of losing delegates to the convention.

“I’m trying to get them to change the penalties,” Bitner said.

Party activists, many of whom become delegates, have given so much of their time to the Republican Party that they deserve a chance to celebrate at the convention, Bitner said. The convention is scheduled for August 2012.

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