GOP Punishes Five States for Early Voting Contests

Republican National Committee Chairman Mike Duncan said the states would lose delegates to next summer’s national convention for violating party rules against holding nominating contests before Feb. 5.

“No one wants to be in a position to penalize anyone, but our rules are self-enforcing,” Duncan told reporters, according to the Associated Press. “They give me no options.”

Iowa and Nevada, which will be holding early caucuses, rather than primaries, will not be penalized.

“After significant examination we convened a meeting today and upheld the rules that were unanimously passed by our party in 2004,” Duncan said.

Representatives from the rebuked states were stung by the punishment, but hoped there might still be ways to have full representation at the convention.

Florida GOP Chairman Jim Greer said in a statement he was “disappointed that the full committee did not recognize the validity of Florida’s position that is it not in violation of the rule.”

“This is a long process and I continue to be confident that Florida will ultimately seat its full delegation,” Greer said.

Michigan officials expressed similar sentiments.

“I remain confident that all of Michigan’s 60 national delegates will be seated next year in Minneapolis-St. Paul,” Michigan GOP Chairman Saul Anuzis said. “There will be much discussion in the coming months about the makeup of the national convention, including the credentialing of delegates.”

Democratic rules allow four states to hold votes before Feb. 5: Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire and South Carolina.

Although the Democratic National Committee has yet to impose specific penalties for nominating contest shifts, it has spoken out against Florida, vowing to “strip all the delegates from Florida for violating party rules by moving up its primary,” the AP reported.

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