RNC to Florida: Next time you lose 90 percent of your delegates

Hurricane Isaac isn’t the only storm developing in Tampa. The Republican National Committee is brewing up one of its own.

Florida has a penchant for jumping in the gun when it comes to scheduling presidential primaries. We did it in 2008 and again in 2012. Republican National Committee rules provide that when a state moves its primary ahead of those of Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada, the state forfeits half its delegates. That rule ended up reducing Florida’s delegates from 99 to 50 at Tampa convention.

But this penalty would be but a love tap as compared to what the Republican National Committee Rules Committee came up with Wednesday. If Florida pulls the same stunt in 2016, it would lose 90 percent of its delegates, reducing its representatives down to 10.

South Carolina delegate Glenn McCall moved for the rules change at the meeting held at the Marriott Waterside. McCall said, “Half is not a big enough punishment. Obviously it’s not, because there are states that still want to take that penalty and move up. So we need to make it really punitive and stick to it.” When Florida moved up its primary, South Carolina felt compelled to do the same. This decision reduced their delegate count down to 25.

Last October, Palm Beach County GOP Chairman Sid Dinerstein expressed his disappointment at losing just half its delegates at this year’s convention. At that time he told local CBS affiliate WPEC, “Going to the convention as a delegate or as an alternate is a great honor, and for many people who are active in politics, it’s a once-in-a-lifetime event.”

The rule change isn’t written in stone yet, however. The entire Republican National Committee will have to approve the change, followed by a convention vote.

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