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February 21st, 2011

Priebus Should Move RNC Convention Out of Florida

By Craig Robinson

Just because the Republican National Committee and Democrat National Committee announced months ago that February 6th would be the date for the Iowa caucuses, doesn’t mean that’s when the First-In-The-Nation Caucuses will actually take place.

The rules set by the national parties don’t even guarantee that the caucuses will be the first contest in the nominating process.  In fact, there is a possibility that the Republican nomination could be wrapped up by February 6th, just like it almost was back in 2008.

Confused?  Don’t be.  While its good that the RNC and DNC have established rules that protect the early status of states like Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Nevada, it’s still up to each of those four states to do whatever is necessary to keep their status.  That means the February 6th date for the Iowa Caucuses is a suggestion, not an exact date.

In a repeat of four years ago, the State of Florida has thrown a wrench into the nominating calendar.  Currently, the Florida primary is set for January 31st, a full week before the Iowa caucuses.  Even though Florida is in clear violation of RNC and DNC rules, elected officials there don’t seem to be concerned one bit.

Mike Haridopolos, the President of the Florida State Senate, told the Politico last week, “Florida’s the most important presidential state and we’d like to keep our current position as one of the early states.” He went on to add that he liked following South Carolina in 2008.  It’s too bad the reporter didn’t follow up and ask him why then they scheduled their primary before everyone else this time around.

If Florida is insistent on keeping its January 31st date, then it is likely that once again, the Iowa Caucuses could occur in early January in order to allow New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Nevada enough time for their contests before Florida’s primary.  Unless, of course, the RNC puts its foot down and punishes Florida for violating its rules.

Having been involved in setting Iowa’s caucus date for January 3rd in 2008, the earliest the caucuses were ever held, I don’t see the RNC having anything that it could threaten Florida with that would make them reconsider.  Florida was one of the main reasons the 2008 caucuses had be held on the January 3rd, and what kind of punishment did they and other rule-breaking states like Michigan and Wyoming have to endure?  They received a slap on the wrist.

The problem that the RNC has is that by the time the national convention rolls around, they don’t want any problems, especially from critical electoral states like Florida.  Florida’s political leaders know this, and that’s why they have no respect for the nomination calendar that both the RNC and DNC have agreed too.

The mere fact that Tampa, Florida, was awarded the Republican National Convention goes to show you just how toothless the RNC really is in determining the nomination calendar.  Why the RNC awarded the convention to a state that violated its rules in the previous presidential cycle is beyond me.

Florida’s Speaker of the House Dean Cannon seems to agree that there isn’t much the RNC could do to them for holding their primary early.  Cannon told CNN that he wasn’t worried about his state being stripped of its delegates as punishment for violating the calendar rules because the GOP convention will be held in Tampa.

It would be hard to not seat the Florida delegation at a convention in their home state, which is why the only play RNC Chairman Reince Priebus has is to threaten to move the convention out of Florida.  I’m sure there are a number of states that would gladly host the Republican National Convention on the condition that they do not violate the RNC’s rules.

As for us Iowans, we better get ready to caucus in January.  I’ve seen this movie before.

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About the Author

Craig Robinson
Craig Robinson is the founder and editor-in-chief of TheIowaRepublican.com, a political news and commentary site he launched in March of 2009. Robinson’s political analysis is respected across party lines, which has allowed him to build a good rapport with journalist across the country. Robinson has also been featured on Iowa Public Television’s Iowa Press, ABC’s This Week, and other local television and radio programs. Campaign’s & Elections Magazine recognized Robinson as one of the top influencers of the 2012 Iowa Caucuses. A 2013 Politico article sited Robinson and TheIowaRepublican.com as the “premier example” of Republican operatives across the country starting up their own political news sites. His website has been repeatedly praised as the best political blog in Iowa by the Washington Post, and in January of 2015, Politico included him on the list of local reporters that matter in the early presidential states. Robinson got his first taste of Iowa politics in 1999 while serving as Steve Forbes’ southeast Iowa field coordinator where he was responsible for organizing 27 Iowa counties. In 2007, Robinson served as the Political Director of the Republican Party of Iowa where he was responsible for organizing the 2007 Iowa Straw Poll and the 2008 First-in-the-Nation Iowa Caucuses. Following the caucuses, he created his own political news and commentary site, TheIowaRepublcian.com. Robinson is also the President of Global Intermediate, a national mail and political communications firm with offices in West Des Moines, Iowa, and Washington, D.C. Robinson utilizes his fundraising and communications background to service Global’s growing client roster with digital and print marketing. Robinson is a native of Goose Lake, Iowa, and a 1999 graduate of St. Ambrose University in Davenport, where he earned degrees in history and political science. Robinson lives in Ankeny, Iowa, with his wife, Amanda, and son, Luke. He is an active member of the Lutheran Church of Hope.




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