Fox News reports:
The Newt Gingrich campaign is gearing up to challenge the results of the Florida Republican presidential primary based on the Republican National Committee’s own rules which state that no contest can be winner-take-all prior to April 1, 2012…
Fox News has learned exclusively that on Thursday, a Florida Gingrich campaign official will begin the process of trying to have the RNC rules enforced so that the Sunshine State delegates are distributed based on the percentage of the vote each candidate got.
RNC Chairman Reince Priebus warned Florida Republican Party Chairman Lenny Curry of the violation in a December letter quoting the rule, “…’winner-take-all’ states cannot hold a primary or caucus before April 1, 2012.”
Gingrich is right, on the basics of the rule. Florida having to divide delegates proportionally is not a punishment. That’s the way all states holding contests were delegates are supposed to divy them up. Indeed, Florida does not get high marks from me because they decided they were so special that the rules the whole party agreed to shouldn’t apply to them. And the idea of their state being winner-take-all when they forced all of the political junkies to be thinking about primary season as Bing Crosby was singing “White Christmas” makes me totally unsympathetic to Florida’s “plight.” Of course, as Ed Morrissey points out, there’s a bit of hypocrisy involved here:
Why didn’t Gingrich raise this complaint before the primary? Did he think his South Carolina win was going to carry him to a “winner take all” victory in Florida too?
The reason Gingrich wasn’t making noise about this BEFORE the vote was that, of course, he hoped to win Florida. Not only did he hope to get fifty winner-take-all delegates for himself, if a candidate speaks out against the state’s plan to exert influence on the election process. You save that sort of thing for after the votes have been cast or Gingrich would have lost by a greater margin.
Fair warning to winner-take-all Arizona, while Newt won’t say it now, if you don’t vote for him, he’ll challenge the way you’re proportioning delegates with party leaders. However, if he wins, he’ll let your flagrant violation of the rules go.
Of course, the only way this will matter much is if we don’t have a nominee by convention time. Otherwise, whoever the nominee is will wimp out and seat full delegations for Florida and Arizona and leave RNC officials to wonder next time why so many states have no compunction about violating party rules.