Not content to let the Democratic National Committee alone attempt to deal with the "problem" of frontloading, the Republican National Committee on Tuesday made clear that it too would enforce its rules on delegate selection. What does that mean and who is affected? According to the rules (see my earlier post), states holding presidential primaries during the 2008 cycle, must do so between February 5 and the first Tuesday in June (June 3, 2008). In case you hadn't noticed, no one seems to be queuing on the back end. So which states are under fire from the GOP for attacking the front end? Florida, already under scrutiny from national Democrats for the state's proposed plan to hold a primary on January 29, is joined by South Carolina, Michigan and, believe it or not, New Hampshire.
Those four states face losing half of their delegates to the Republican National Convention in Minneapolis next summer for violating the window rule. Florida, South Carolina and Michigan make sense. But why sanction New Hampshire? And why now? And come to think of it, why not Iowa? Iowa and Nevada are exempt from penalties because both states are holding non-binding caucuses and not primaries.
After checking the Republican delegate selection rules again, caucuses and conventions are mentioned by name; not just primaries. However, Nevada and Iowa are non-binding contests which exempts them from national GOP scrutiny. Wyoming, on the other hand, is vulnerable to sanction because the plan recently decided upon there would award 12 of the state's 28 delegates during that first step on January 5.