Columbia, S.C. - Today, state Republican Party Chairs Matt Strawn (Iowa), Wayne MacDonald (New Hampshire), Amy Tarkanian (Nevada) and Chad Connelly (South Carolina) jointly released a statement condemning any state's efforts to move its 2012 Presidential selection date in violation of Republican National Committee (RNC) rules:
Chairman Strawn commented, "The four sanctioned, early states have been very clear that we will move together, if necessary, to ensure order as outlined in RNC rules. If we are forced to change our dates together, we will."
Chairman MacDonald said, "The New Hampshire Republican Party is proud to stand with Iowa, Nevada and South Carolina in honoring the rules of the RNC and the laws, traditions and beliefs of our respective states. We recognize that frontloading the political calendar is a disservice to the political process, our candidates and the voters. New Hampshire's Secretary of State will make sure our state continues to play its critically important role in the presidential nominating process."
Chairman Tarkanian commented, "Nevada remains committed to achieving excellence in our First in the West caucus and we are undeterred by the prospect of moving the date, which we will do if New Hampshire moves theirs, as we are bound by rule to hold our caucus four days after New Hampshire's primary. Florida's possible decision to move its primary is disappointing and, frankly, disrespectful of the other early primary states and the process as a whole. Nevada stands proudly with the other early states, Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina in protecting the established process and representing the West. This situation gives Nevadans the opportunity to showcase our ability to adapt and establish our state as a major player in national politics."
Chairman Connelly stated, "Our four states are committed to protecting the integrity of the 2012 nominating process and we refuse to let rogue states dictate the calendar. Elections held just after New Year hurt voters and candidates by short circuiting the nominating process. Republicans deserve the chance to get to know every candidate. We must choose the right person to defeat Barack Obama."
IMPORTANT FACTS AND QUOTES
On August 6, 2010 at its Summer Meeting, the Republican National Committee amended Rule 15(b) of The Rules of the Republican Party to state "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 a 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 a national convention is held..."
The motion to adopt the amendment passed with one hundred and three (103) votes out of one hundred and forty-four (144) votes cast in favor of the motion. Ninety-six (96) votes were needed to reach the necessary 2/3 support needed to pass this Rules amendment according to Rule 10(d). (RNC Summer Meeting Transcript, August 6, 2010)
Then-RNC Chairman Michael Steele stated that the rule change developed "a consensus presidential nominating schedule that attempts to avoid a national primary and...a system that allows more states to be involved in the selection of our Republican presidential nominee." (Source--RNC Summer Meeting Transcript, August 6, 2010)
Mr. Paul Senft, the National Committeeman from Florida and a member of the Temporary Delegate Selection Committee hailed the plan as best for the party.
• "I can vouch for the fact that there were no hidden agendas or any consideration by the committee that this would help anyone or any states over others." (RNC Summer Meeting Transcript, August 6, 2010)
• "I would submit to you that, human nature being what it is, the candidates with the most money will go to the largest vote locations and media markets and they will only visit a few states. If I was from a smaller state and in this room, I would be concerned about ever having a candidate darken my door again if this fails, because we will have a national primary day and on that national primary day they (candidates) are going to go where the media markets are and where the people are, and that means they're going to only go to a few locations or a few states." (RNC Summer Meeting Transcript, August 6, 2010)
• "This is serious enough that we put it into the rules last year--or 2 years ago at the convention, that it had to come here today and be passed by a two thirds vote. We wanted this body to be sure of what it was doing and that is was committed, and that this was the way it wanted to go." (RNC Summer Meeting Transcript, August 6, 2010)
• "I hope you'll consider (voting for the rule change) because if we go down that path there will be people who come along in this party with the money and try to buy the nomination, and I don't think we want that." (RNC Summer Meeting Transcript, August 6, 2010)
RNC members from across the county spoke out in favor of the rules change, and in favor of keeping an orderly calendar that is not compressed into just a few short weeks.
• The National Committeeman from New Jersey, Mr. David Norcross, stated during debate that as of August 6, 2010, 43 states were scheduled to hold primaries in February of 2012, and that not enacting the rule change would favor candidates with name identification and a great deal of money, and would remove the idea of retail politics, and only favor big states with big television centers. (RNC Summer Meeting Transcript, August 6, 2010)
• The National Committeeman from Indiana, Mr. Jim Bopp, stated that the rule change was designed to have, at a minimum, a primary election period of approximately two and a half months, as opposed to a national primary that is combined into two weeks. (RNC Summer Meeting Transcript, August 6, 2010)
• The National Committeeman from Tennessee, Mr. John Ryder, stated that the plan was flexible and allowed states to choose dates within a certain span of time and was "the best solution to prevent a national primary." (RNC Summer Meeting Transcript, August 6, 2010)
• The National Committeewoman from North Carolina, Ms. Ada Fisher, stated that the plan "facilitates more face time between voters and candidates." (RNC Summer Meeting Transcript, August 6, 2010)
• The State Chairman from Idaho, Mr. Norm Semanko, stated that historically Idaho is one of the last states, and so that "anything that will lengthen this thing out, that will avoid a national primary, is something that we're supportive of." (RNC Summer Meeting Transcript, August 6, 2010)
• The Chairman from New Hampshire, Governor John Sununu, stated that his state would not be affected as they remained a carve-out state but that the "2008 process was chaos" and that candidates have no way to prepare for or manage "the chaos of the scheduling and the rescheduling and the re-re-rescheduling that will take place" if the rule was not amended. (RNC Summer Meeting Transcript, August 6, 2010)
Florida has consistently challenged national Republican Party rules. On May 21, 2007, then-Florida Governor Charlie Crist signed a plan to move up their 2008 contest, leapfrogging many states.
• "Florida is defying threats of penalties from the Republican...party for jumping ahead in the pecking order of states choosing presidential nominees."
(Stateline, "Florida Shakes Up Presidential Primary" May 21, 2007)
• "Florida's fast break is making an already complicated process even more uncertain. 'It may be the hole in the dike' said Andrew Smith...other states could scramble to move up their dates to choose the nominees even earlier." (Stateline, "Florida Shakes Up Presidential Primary" May 21, 2007)
• Florida's jump made New Hampshire Republican leaders state it was "not beyond the realm of possibility" to hold their primary during December of 2007. (Stateline, "Florida Shakes Up Presidential Primary" May 21, 2007)
• "Florida said its customary second Tuesday in March primary date was too late and that sharing the stage on Super-Duper Tuesday wouldn't let its diverse population have enough say in choosing the next president."(Stateline, "Florida Shakes Up Presidential Primary" May 21, 2007)
• "This is going to require the serious candidates to spend very, very large amounts of money...in Florida"(Merle Black, Political Scientist, Associated Press, "Early primary gives Florida big say" May 21, 2007)
• "The Republican National Committee has threated to take away half of Florida's delegates if the primary is held before Feb. 5....State Republican leaders say it's worth the cost" (Associated Press, "Early primary gives Florida big say" May 21, 2007)
Florida flirts with breaking party rules even as their National Committeeman served on the committee that came up with the rule. As early as February 2011, Florida planned to break the rules they argued in favor of roughly six months prior.
• "Lets just be candid, Florida is the most important state in the union." (Florida State Senate President Mike Haridopolos, Fox News "Florida Threatens to Start a 2012 Primary Stampede" February 24, 2011)
• "The other thorn poking the RNC in the side: the 2012 Republican National Convention will be held in none other than Tampa, Fla." (Fox News "Florida Threatens to Start a 2012 Primary Stampede" February 24, 2011)
• " 'I think that's where it will end up,' Gov. Rick Scott said, referring to those first few days in March." (Politico "Florida GOP Leaders Push For Early Primary Date, Despite Threat From RNC" July, 2011)
• " 'The Republican Party Rules are clear. With the exception of the four carve-out states, any state that holds a binding primary, caucus or convention prior to March 6, 2012 will be in violation,' said RNC spokeswoman Kristen Kukowski" (Politico "Florida GOP Leaders Push For Early Primary Date, Despite Threat From RNC" July 7, 2011)