February 1, 2012

Gingrich to Challenge Florida Winner-Take-All Status

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.

by @ 8:38 pm. Filed under Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich
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54 Responses to “Gingrich to Challenge Florida Winner-Take-All Status”

  1. Ozzy Says:

    Florida is where the GOP convention will be held this year and they already had their delegates already cut in half. GOP is not gonna punish Florida anymore to appease Gingrich. This challenge is gonna go nowhere.

  2. Massachusetts Conservative Says:

    Rick Santorum and Ron Paul SKIPPED Florida because it was winner-take-all.

    Are we going to screw them too?

  3. Adam Graham Says:

    #1:

    Dividing delegates proportionally isn’t a punishment. It’s the rules of the Republican Party. And I have to think that if you’re in a State that decided not to be a rule-breaking state (i.e. every other state other than Florida, Arizona, and Michigan), you’ll have some satisfaction in making Florida stick to the rules.

  4. Massachusetts Conservative Says:

    To clarify comment #2, YES, I KNOW they will get delegates if proportional.

    But they would have gotten MORE if they KNEW it would end up as proportional.

    Get it?

  5. Adam Graham Says:

    #2:

    Gingrich doesn’t think about that. I imagine that Florida would probably make it proportional with a 15% threshold unless they wanted to cheese Gingrich off by letting everybody get delegates. If the challenge was filed beforehand and we got a 15% threshhold, Santorum probably would have worked the state harder. Don’t expect that matters to Gingrich or a strict interpretation of party rules.

  6. bumskyred Says:

    Just another one of Newts rants – too little too late. This should have been contested weeks ago, were this to amount to a real issue. But Newt, egotistically believing himself to a win after SC, only contests this AFTER? What a joke. He leaves in his wake lawsuit after lawsuit, tantrum after tantrum – debates, VA,FL (watch, Missouri will be next if its convenient for his situation). SPARE ME!

  7. Adam Graham Says:

    #4:

    The only states I know of that are pure proportional are Nevada and Idaho, all the rest have a threshold of 10-20% to get delegates. So, I doubt Florida would give delegates to Paul and probably not to Santorum.

  8. independentthinker Says:

    I really don’t like this guy. He is evil. When I think of Gingrich, I think of a guy who would encourage anarchy rather then concede the nomination. He would call for riots. This guy cares for nobody except himself. He can’t be trusted.

  9. Micah Says:

    http://www.cnn.com/video/?/tab/live#/video/cvplive/cvpstream1

    Mitt’s tearing it up..

  10. Massachusetts Conservative Says:

    7

    Your idea assumes Florida would be able to write a rule on the allocation of delegates. We’d have to see.

  11. mitch Says:

    South Carolina was almost half winner take all and gingrich didn’t complain about it.

    Gingrich got 23 delegates and romney got 2 delegates. Gingrich got over 90 percent of the delegates and only won 40 percent to 28 percent.

    South Carolina gave 11 delegates to the winner and two each to the winner of each of the seven congressional districts.

    Gingrich wants florida to be all proportional. Why can’t Florida do what south carolina did.

    Florida could do what South Carolina did and awarded 25 at large delegates for winner of the primary and one each for the winner of each of the 25 congressional districts.

    Gingrich probably won about five congressional districts. That would mean Romney would get 45 delegates and Gingrich would get 5. Just like Gingrich got 23 to 2 in south carolina.

    Romney has been the one hurt by the delegate breakdown in the early states. He lost half the delegates in florida and new hampshire while gingrich just lost half of them in south carolina. Florida and NH had 62 delegates taken away while SC had only 25 delegates taken away and now Newt wants florida to be all proportional when he didn’t complain about south carolina not being all proportional.

  12. Adam Graham Says:

    #11:

    Good point on South Carolina. If this thing isn’t settled by June, this will be an interesting year to be on the RNC rules committee.

  13. OregonConservative Says:

    Okay, just to be nice, lets give Newt 2 Florida delegates since that’s how many Romney received from South Carolina–even though the margin there was closer.

  14. OregonConservative Says:

    11: I was too slow in posting my idea. You beat me to it.

  15. NewtOrNobody Says:

    Gingrich deserves all 50 delegates. He is the true winner in Florida!

    http://NewtGingrichReallyWonFlorida.com

  16. Ozzy Says:

    12,

    I have a solution to this problem. The RNC can appoint Newt to oversee several student janitors to clean the convention hall in Tampa to prepare for Mitt’s acceptance of the nomination. :)

  17. Keith Price Says:

    If the RNC required proportional, why did FL think it could do WTA?

    And, what requirements does RNC have for the allocation? How creative could FL get?

    And, why does Newt keep drawing attention to his failures (VA, FL)

  18. aspire Says:

    Gingrich is an embarrassment to the party.

  19. Annette Says:

    What a cry baby..and if Newt won FL would he be contesting the winner take all. We all know he wouldn’t be. Newt received most of the delegates in SC and of course said nothing about that.

  20. Dave Says:

    Florida already lost half of its delegates so they could go early and WTA. The idea that the RNC is going to penalize them further when the Party is holding its convention in Tampa is laughable.

    Not surprising…..Newt’s a joke.

  21. RJPeck Says:

    If they change reallocate the delegates, they need to reinstate the other 49 delegates.

  22. Thomas Alan Says:

    Newt can challenge all he wants. He can then take a Stone Cold Salute.

  23. James from TX Says:

    First, I think all states should be WTA. It would be much better for the process and would prevent a drag out process like with Obama/Clinton in 08. If you win an election, you are the winner and if you come a close second, you are the loser. I don’t quite understand why the states after April 1 would not all become WTA (very few are) and become more influential.

    Second, it seems there should be some kind of statute of limitations on these matters. You can’t just complain about it after the election.

    Third, 1 and 2 can be ignored because I don’t see a any viable pathway that Newt can even come close to winning the nomination.

  24. Craigs Says:

    Romney also mentioned hitting his finger with a hammer the other day and saying ” Oh Nuts!”
    The press speculated he was
    Dissing the peanut farmers in Georgia
    Suggesting a New trade agreement with Spain
    answering a question about Newt Gingrich
    demeaning migrant workers in California

    All of the above. PPP is out polling today and Hannity plans a full expose with Greta on this nefarious plan to undercut Gingrichs southern base of support.

    CraigS

  25. Ozzy Says:

    22,

    It would’ve been awesome if The Rock and Stone Cold showed up at Newt’s campaign HQ and gave Newt a Stunner and a Rock Bottom. :) Hell, bring Triple H and Undertaker and give Newt a pedigree and a tombstone as well. :D

  26. James from TX Says:

    Also, state Republican parties can allocate delegates however they wish. The national RNC can bitch and whine all they wish, but their only recourse is to penalize them further and decrease their delegates or allow them to have zero delegates. They are NOT going to do that because FL is too important of a state in the general and the convention is in FL.

  27. Craigs Says:

    If Gingrich could challenge the RNC in Florida, maybe Romney should challenge the S Carolina primary rules that let 105,000 Democratic voters vote in a GOP primary. Through out the Dem votes in S Carolina and then look at delegate allocation there

  28. Thunder (Romney the next presiden of the US) Says:

    The RNC already signed off on WTA So, its way too late. This challenge will only hurt Newt.

  29. krissmith777 Says:

    I don’t honestly think that Newt will succeed in this. The RNC has released a statement saying that it has already punished Florida to the fullest extent:

    http://www.politico.com/blogs/burns-haberman/2012/02/rnc-memo-outlines-stance-on-florida-winnertakeall-113220.html

  30. krissmith777 Says:

    28.

    DAMN IT!!! you beat me to it by a couple of seconds! Lol

  31. jaxemer11 Says:

    The memo they issued was terribly written. Who is running his campaign?

    The only thing the RNC can do is impose another sanction,which they won’t do. They can’t pick the delegates or force the selected delegates to vote for Newt.

    Also, the rule specifically says that the vote is to be allocated “proportionately”. South Carolina is not allocating it’s delegates proportionately either. Is Newt going to ask for those delegates o be allocated in accordance with the rule?

  32. Adam Graham Says:

    #17:

    The RNC required:

    1) No states with delegates awarded in their contests to go before February 1st. No contests with delegates at stake were allowed in February outside of Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Nevada. Violating this rule means a loss of half your delegates. (Note: Iowa, Colorado, Minnesota, Missouri, Maine, and Washington aren’t being penalized because their contests don’t elect national convention delegates.)

    2) If your votes before April, your delegates must be award proportionally.

    Florida lost 49 delegates for jumping ahead of the line, but winner take all is still the rule.

    #23:

    Yeah, because Obama-Clinton led to a Republican landslide victory with massive Democratic losses in Congress. We know that Obama-Clinton caused that. We also know that McCain having states like Missouri where he won 33% of the vote and finished 2% ahead of Mike Huckabee but got all the delegates helped make people eagerly embrace his nomination.

    The best thing about winner take all is that the more Republicans across the country we can disenfranchise by choosing the nominee without giving them a chance to vote, the easier it’ll be to unite the party.

    Oh wait…

  33. Dave Says:

    The media has way too much power in this country, but when it comes to Presidential elections, it doesn’t matter. People get so exposed to candidates, and the process is so drawn out, that anything the media tries to make too big a deal about is quickly swept away.

    Mitt should work with his advisers, but not sweat the small stuff. He has a country to save, which transcends the irrelevancies.

  34. Dave Says:

    People see the word proportional and they think it’s positively correlated with percentages. SC allocated delegates according to Congressional Districts and at large. That’s one definition of proportional.

  35. Adam Graham Says:

    #29:

    Not sure how this is good news for Romney, ” A contest procedure exists for challenges to a state’s delegation or delegates. The RNC cannot consider any issue regarding Florida’s delegation unless and until a proper contest is brought. If a contest is properly and timely filed, the Committee on Contests and the RNC will have the opportunity to hear the contest and determine if there are any further steps to be taken beyond the penalties that have already been imposed.”

    Gingrich is saying he’ll bring the contest, so I’m not sure how this is proof nothing will happen. I don’t expect this to be relevant unless we get to the convention and it is contested. I don’t see Gingrich being in this race past March 13th despite his blunderbus.

  36. jaxemer11 Says:

    34 – no. South Carolina’s system doesn’t fit the definition of proportional.

    http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/proportional

  37. Thunder (Romney the next presiden of the US) Says:

    Newt is running for Whiner in Chief

  38. MED Says:

    Hold on just a sec! I thought SC was also penalized because they didn’t proportion it in a more “normal” fashion. They were suppose to have 50 delegates but instead had 25 at stake because it was an “almost” winner take all state. Therefore, Newt ended up with 23 and Romney 2. Am I mistaken here? Can someone elaborate on this for me? If it is indeed a case like this and Florida would have to proportion their delegates, then SC would also have to redistribute their delegates meaning Newt would also lose SC delegates and Romney gain some, right? I’m confused.

  39. James from TX Says:

    32

    Actually, giving that in ’08 Pres Bush had a job approval in the high 20s, we were in the middle of a financial meltdown during the election and McCain was a weak candidate at best, it is surprising to me that Obama only won by 7 pts. It is likely that his long battle with Hillary caused him to lose some support in the general. I don’t think it helped him. I know several lefty supporters of Hillary that either did not vote in Nov, voted for McCain, or voted for Obama but were not excited about him.

    Re: WTA. I still believe that if you win the state you win (just like a general election, in the electoral college or in a football game). Winner take all just makes the most sense to me. Should Perry have gotten 2 delegates in IA for his sorry 10% showing? It would be a simpler and less contentious process if all states were winner take all. Just my opinion.

  40. ogrepete Says:

    This doesn’t do much to reverse Newt’s developing reputation as that of a “whiner.”

  41. OregonConservative Says:

    38: South Carolina was penalized for going in January. They lost half there delegates, just like Iowa, New Hampshire, and Florida. The RNC rule (amended in 2008 with rule 15(b)) is as follows:

    Rule 15(b)(1): No primary, caucus, or convention to elect, select, allocate, or bind delegates to the national convention shall occur prior to the first Tuesday in March in the year in which the national convention is held. Except, Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Nevada may begin their processes at any time on or after February 1 in the year in which the national convention is held and shall not be subject to the provisions of paragraph (b)(2) of this rule. (emphasis added)

    Rule 15(b)(2): Any presidential primary, caucus, convention, or other meeting held for the purpose of selecting delegates to the national convention which occurs prior to the first day of April in the year in which the national convention is held, shall provide for the allocation of delegates on a proportional basis.

    So, if a state violates Rule 15(b)(1) by going before Feb. 1 (for Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Nevada) or before the first Tuesday in March (for all other states), they lose half their delegates. However, they are also then exempt from Rule 15(b)(2) that require proportional allocation. As such, Florida has already been penalized for breaking 15(b)(1) and are thus exempt from 15(b)(2). Gingrich doesn’t have a valid argument.

  42. OregonConservative Says:

    My bad. Looking at Rule 15(b)(1) again (in 41), the way it is worded it appears that the exemption from Rule 15(b)(2) only applies to Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Nevada regardless of when they hold their primaries/caucuses.

    However, that second “sentence” in Rule 15(b)(1) (starting with “Except”) is not a complete sentence. Starting with “Except” makes the rest of the sentence a dependent clause. Poor grammar.

    At any rate, the rule does not specify a punishment if the rule is broken. As such, losing half the delegates could be the punishment for breaking the whole rule (parts (1) and (2)) as well as to the individual parts–thus avoiding “double jeopardy” for breaking both parts of the rule, as in the case of Florida.

  43. Annette Says:

    This argument being made by the Gingrich camp that dividing up delegates proportionally is not a penalty is probably beside the point. I am sure that FL agreed to give up 50 of it’s delegates in order to hold their primary early and have the WTA.

    Reince Priebus warned Lenny Curry the Republican Party Chairman of FL of the violation in a December letter, but is this the whole story. Could this have been when they agreed to give up half of their delegates.

    Would Reince Priebus sit by and let FL do winner take all knowing it could be challenged? Would it not set a precedent, where candidates might challenge other states. I can’t believe that Priebus would let this move forward if it violated rules. What kind of an RNC would he be?

  44. Annette Says:

    41 Oregon Conservative
    Your post explains my questions in 43. Giving up the 50 delegates had to have enabled Fl to hold their primary early with the WTA. Good post..thanks

  45. george Says:

    This country control by law,and no body can change rule of law by himself without the law,the FL law was like that for long time,2008 McCain took all 57 delegates,if Newt want to change this law why he didn’t order last year,it is too late Newt,don’t just try too selfish too much,you left your first wife because she was very ill from cancer,that not enough you left your second wife again,enough is enough,or you has never known enough for yourself.The big ideas that just think about himself but don’t care about the rule of law and other people.

  46. andrew Says:

    Newt needs to understand that he did not oppose thus winner takes all decision before the first vote was cast. It is an sleezy way out for Newt to get something from the effort. If he won and Mitt lost I wonder what his scheme would have been. He is bad news for the conservation of the party s soul. Where in the world do you get an member of an party refusing to congratulate his opponent. He attacks Romney on a personal level hoping he will get an interjection from the party leadership. Sly old cranky Fox

  47. wateredseeds Says:

    No way is this going anywhere. Ron Paul was skipping florida from day one. It would be unfair to his strategy…and give Newt an advantage over Paul and Santorum.

  48. Teemu Says:

    Before Florida became winner take all, it was proportional in same way as South Carolina. Since FL has this year 27 congressional districts, and 50 delegates, that means it will be 1 delegate per congressional district, and 23 at-large delegates to the state winner. This means that the challenge even if it succeeded, and FL used the same “proportional” rules as SC did, this would bring most likely just 2-4 delegates. Their campaign must be really stupid if they think that is worht making them look even more “sore loser”.

  49. Matt "MWS" Says:

    This is example #4,912 of why Newt is a strategic moron, and quite possibly the most historically, fundamentally overrated intellect to ever plague the political scene.

    The dozen or so delegates Newt would pick up if he got his way here won’t matter unless Newt seriously reverses his fortunes and starts winning other states, big time. He just made the task of winning that much harder by being a whiney sore loser who wants to litigate his way to the nomination. But even if, by some miracle, Newts starts winning, the odds of the Convention coming down to a dozen delegates is about 1: 782,898

  50. marK Says:

    Matt.49,

    It’s also a fantastic example of Newt is the guy who gets “big ideas”, but he really doesn’t think them through. He’s in perpetual brain-storm mode.

  51. Teemu Says:

    49:
    If they were forced to go to same proportional system as South Carolina, which they planned before becoming winner-take-all, it would be just 2-4 delegates.

    Based on this most likely redistricting plan to get approved and the county results, he is guaranteed to win only two of the congressional districts bordering Florida’s northern border and possibly winning two other CDs bordering northern border.

    http://maps.flsenate.gov/de1/map.html?plan=h000c9047
    CD-1: Western Panhandle: clear Newt
    CD-2: Eastern Panhandle Tallahassee: tossup
    CD-3: Gainesville: clear Newt
    CD-4: Northeastern FL district, Duval, Nassau, Baker counties: tossup

  52. Ci2Eye Says:

    I used to like Newt. He was once my Congressman and this cycle, I originally thought Newt, Mitt, or T-Paw would be fine but I now view Newt as a whiny, pathetic, chaotic, and yes, erratic individual that should never be anywhere near the Oval Office.

    If he had a problem with this, he should have raised the issue BEFORE someone else won which is exactly what the judge told him about Virgina. He didn’t complain about the ballot access laws there until after he failed to meet the requirement.

    We already have one President that makes excuses, we sure don’t need to nominate another individual like that.

  53. Joanne Swindell Says:

    Just a minute. Newt did not write the rules. These are RNC rules. What if every state violated them? We have a president who has failed to uphold the laws of this country. Is it not disingenuous to criticize someone who respects the law. As for Romney, of course he would not address any discrepancy that favors him.

  54. Santorum Wins Alabama and Mississippi, Romney 3rd in Both; Brokered Convention Math Update; Another "Super Tuesday" on April 24 | Pip Gains Says:

    [...] importantly, Newt Gingrich Will Challenge Winner-Take-All Rules in Florida and [...]

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