The Newt Gingrich campaign is reportedly gearing up to challenge Florida’s “winner take all” policy, which allows the winner of the state’s presidential primary to gain all 50 of the state’s delegates, on the grounds that it violates the rules of the Republican National Committee. Republican Party of Florida chair Lenny Curry is defending the policy, arguing that it’s “a shame when the loser of a contest agrees to the rules before, then cries foul after losing.”
Mitt Romney, who won the Tuesday primary with 46 percent of the vote, would normally receive all 50 delegates. But, per national Republican party rules, no contest can be winner-take-all if it is conducted prior to April 1, 2012.
Gingrich, who received 32 percent of the Florida primary vote, is reportedly now poised to fight to have that rule enforced.
According to Fox News, a Florida Gingrich campaign official today “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.”
A memo purportedly from the Gingrich campaign, and obtained by Fox, argues that the issue is so serious, in fact, that it will be “subject to challenge before the RNC’s Contest Committee and on the floor at the convention in Tampa this August.”
In December, Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus penned a letter to Republican Party of Florida chairman Lenny Curry, warning him of the rules about the early primary.
In a statement released today, Curry argues that the Florida party’s executive board unanimously passed a rule determining Florida could be winner-take-all — and the national party accepted it.
“On September 23, 2011, RPOF’s Executive Board – 38 people including members from around the state, members who serve on the RNC, and members who are affiliated with different campaigns – unanimously passed RPOF Rule 10,” Curry says in the statement. “Rule 10 determined Florida would be winner take all if the primary date was moved by statute and Florida was penalized by RNC for the move. All campaigns and the RNC have known since then that Florida was winner take all. RNC’s legal counsel has, on numerous occasions, noted their understanding and acceptance of Florida’s rule.”
“Florida was winner take all before Election Day, we were winner take all on Election Day, we will remain winner take all,” he continues. “As Bill McCollum confirmed to Fox News today, had the outcome been different on Tuesday he would not be seeking publicity for a challenge to the rules adopted by Florida’s Republicans. It is a shame when the loser of a contest agrees to the rules before, then cries foul after losing.”