South Carolina GOP Chair Karen Floyd wrote a letter to the members of the Republican National Committee (RNC) on Thursday morning urging members to consider moving the 2012 Republican National Convention from Florida if Florida legislators circumvent the nominating calendar and party rules and move up Florida’s 2012 primary to a date that is before March 1, 2012.
“Simply put, if Florida does not respect the process by which our primary calendar was set, the RNC should not be bound to the process by which the convention site was selected,” Floyd wrote. “If Florida refuses to move its primary date into compliance with RNC rules, I am respectfully requesting that the Committee convene a special task force to select a new site for the 2012 Convention outside the state of Florida.”
In the letter, Floyd also wrote that “as conservatives, we believe in the rule of law, and that rules are made to be followed. To that end, I am sure we all appreciate our state Party counterparts in Florida advocating for the RNC rules being obeyed.
“But what is disconcerting is the apparent recalcitrance of Florida’s Republican-controlled legislature, which is in effect thumbing its nose at the RNC – and feels emboldened to do so because of the 2012 convention location.”
RNC Chariman Reince Priebus has stated that Florida could be penalized by losing up to 50 percent of their delegates, among other penalties, if Florida circumvents the nominating calendar.
Floyd believes those penalties would not be stiff enough.
In her letter, she suggested these possible alternative convention sites: Wisconsin, Ohio, Indiana, Virginia, Missouri, Michigan, and North Carolina.
“It remains my sincere hope that none of this will be necessary – that Florida will ultimately abide by the rules set forward by our Committee, that we will have an orderly and predictable nominating process, and that we will have a phenomenal convention in Tampa in 2012,” Floyd wrote. “If Florida’s legislature makes those things impossible, however, it is important to start the conversation now about the alternatives.”
In response to Floyd’s letter, Iowa GOP chairman Matt Strawn released a statement in support.
“The contempt that Florida legislators hold not only for the RNC 2012 rules, but also for the RNC members who approved these rules, is astonishing,” Strawn said. “To reward this arrogance with our national convention is a great disservice to the Republican activists, donors and elected officials nationwide who support the RNC.”
Strawn further added, “If Florida refuses to move its primary date into compliance with RNC rules, that consequence should be the re-opening of the process to select the site of the 2012 RNC Convention. I join South Carolina Chairwoman Floyd today in beginning preparations to request that the Committee convene a special task force to select a new site for the 2012 Convention outside the state of Florida.”
Should Florida attempt to move its primary to a date ahead of March 1, it would diminish the influence of the traditional early nominating contests in Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina. In addition, such a move may encourage other states to follow suit, creating more chaos in the nominating process.