The South Carolina GOP is urging Republican National Committee members to move the party's 2012 convention outside of Florida, if the Florida GOP doesn't abide by the agreed-upon primary calendar.
That calendar calls for Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, and South Carolina to hold their presidential nominating contests in February 2012, and then for the other states to follow beginning in March.
"Simply put, if Florida does not respect the process by which our primary calendar was set, the RNC should not be bound to the process by which the convention site was selected," South Carolina GOP Chair Karen Floyd said in a letter to RNC members. "If Florida refuses to move its primary date into compliance with RNC rules, I am respectfully requesting that the Committee convene a special task force to select a new site for the 2012 convention outside the state of Florida."
In her letter, Floyd cites a quote from Florida's House speaker, Dean Cannon (R), who said he wasn't concerned that Florida would be penalized if it held its primary earlier than scheduled, because the RNC wouldn't ultimately penalize the state hosting the party's 2012 convention (which is being held in Tampa).
Floyd added, "It remains my sincere hope that none of this will be necessary -- that Florida will ultimately abide by the rules set forward by our Committee, that we will have an orderly and predictable nominating process, and that we will have a phenomenal convention in Tampa in 2012. If Florida’s legislature makes those things impossible, however, it is important to start the conversation now about the alternatives."
Iowa GOP Chair Matt Strawn has issued a statement backing Floyd's call. “If Florida refuses to move its primary date into compliance with RNC rules, that consequence should be the re-opening of the process to select the site of the 2012 RNC convention," Strawn said. "I join South Carolina Chairwoman Floyd today in beginning preparations to request that the Committee convene a special task force to select a new site for the 2012 convention outside the state of Florida.”
*** UPDATE *** The Republican National Committee sent this statement to First Read on the South Carolina GOP's (and well as Iowa GOP's) support for picking a new 2012 convention state -- if Florida doesn't abide by the 2012 primary calendar. "The convention will be in Tampa. At the same time, we will enforce the rules agreed to by all states with respect to the primary and caucus calendar," said RNC Chief of Staff Jeff Larson.