RNC Makes Punishment of Early-Voting States Official
The Republican National Committee has punished five states for scheduling their primaries earlier than allowed, reducing the number of delegates they can send to the 2008 convention by half.
In letters that went out today, RNC Chairman Mike Duncan informed New Hampshire, Michigan, Florida, South Carolina and Wyoming to expect that only half of their delegates would be allowed to come to the convention.
The action was widely expected in the wake of decisions by the states to move their primaries into early January. With a few exceptions, the RNC had insisted that all contests take place between Feb. 5 and July 28.
Leaders in the five states have come to the conclusion that it's better for their state to be more relevant by holding their nominating contests earlier. Iowa and Nevada hold contests in January, but officially select their delegates later in the year, so they were not punished.
Strategists for the presidential campaigns have been expecting the action and have factored the smaller-than-usual number of delegates from those states into their planning.
There's always the chance that the organizers of the convention could reverse the punishments once the party's nominee is determined. But party officials have said that woudl be a highly complicated, unlikely scenario.
--Michael D. Shear
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