Another Victory Lost?

Most of you will remember that Florida, by moving its primary up to January, waived half of its delegates to the national convention.  As it now turns out, they may have violated another rule, and it stands to benefit Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum, and Ron Paul, all to the detriment of Mitt Romney.  It seems that there is another rule that forbids “winner-take-all” primaries and caucuses prior to 1 April.  This is being covered by a variety of outlets, but Burns and Haberman at Politico have given in-depth coverage.

They have outlined the problem, and actually quoted the GOP rules:

“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. (Rule No. 15(b)(2))” (emphasis mine)

Uh-oh Mitt. You see, if we are to accept that the Virginia GOP mustn’t change its rules to permit others who just missed qualification for the ballot access in that state, we must also conclude since the GOP is a party that follows its own rules, it must follow this one.  I have read accounts that the Gingrich camp is already pursuing this, as they should because as the Romney camp  hurries to remind us about Virginia, “rules are rules.”

Myself, I think this is perfect justice.  The Florida GOP hurried up its primary to help Mitt Romney sew up the nomination early, and waived half of its ninety-nine delegates, but now it seems that if this turns out the way the rule is written, the Florida party will have no choice but to apportion the delegates by percentage of vote, and if so, Romney will get twenty-four delegates rather than fifty. Gingrich would come away with fifteen or sixteen.  Instead of handing Romney the ninety-nine delegates they might have handed him later, they may now hand him one-fourth of that number, and I think this is a perfect answer to the entire fiasco of the accelerated schedule.

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