Gingrich to Challenge Florida Results?

Newt may challenge the winner-take-all allocation of delegates.

Via Fox News:  Florida primary might not be a done deal

The Newt Gingrich campaign is gearing up to challenge the results of the Florida Republican presidential primary based on the Republican National Committee’s own rules which state that no contest can be winner-take-all prior to April 1, 2012. (See RNC memo.)

It was assumed that Mitt Romney, who won Tuesday’s contest, would gain all 50 of the state’s delegates. But the Gingrich campaign plans to challenge Florida’s allocation and demand the delegates be divvied up proportionally. (See Gingrich memo.)

Fox News has learned exclusively that on Thursday, a Florida Gingrich campaign official will begin the process of trying to have the RNC rules enforced so that the Sunshine State delegates are distributed based on the percentage of the vote each candidate got.

First, like the case of the Virginia ballot, it is best to challenge these things early, not after one did not get one’s way.  This just makes Gingrich look like a sore loser.  Had he won Florida, for example, I doubt he would be concerned about whether Florida’s GOP was following RNC dictums on this issue.  In other words:  if Gingrich really was concerned about the state following the rules, he could have pointed this issue out weeks ago, as opposed to after he lost.

Second, the issue of delegate allocation is only going to be relevant if Gingrich can actually fight to the bitter end (and win a lot of primaries along the way).  It seems unlikely that we will get to the end of this process and find that Newt would have been the nominee if only he had won some delegates in Florida.

Third, while it is true that the system is ultimately about delegate allocation, Romney’s win this week was far more about about rebounding from SC and trouncing Gingrich by double-digits, than it was about delegate counts.  Newt would still be in trouble even if Florida had, in fact, allocated delegates differently.  The issue at the moment is more about momentum and media coverage than it is about precise delegate counts at the moment.

As I noted early in the week, Newt’s problem is Newt, not other factors.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2012, US Politics, , , , , ,
Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter


  1. legion says:

    As I noted early in the week, Newt’s problem is Newt, not other factors.

    Another way of putting it, IMHO, is that the only person on Newt’s team is Newt. Everyone else is expendable, including his own party. He’s losing steam because a lot more Republicans are beginning to see that…

  2. Tsar Nicholas II says:

    Newt’s still running?? That’s a joke, right?

  3. PD Shaw says:

    It doesn’t sound like Gingrich is taking this to the courts (where I do think it would have serious laches issues like the Virginia ballot case), but to the National Committee and the Convention if necessary.

    Didn’t we have a similar existential questioning of the Democratic tallies by the Hillary Clinton campaign four years ago? The networks would show the tally and really only when people asked the Clinton campaign how they were going to get enough delegates to win, they would have some alternative set of numbers that became increasingly silly.

  4. Franklin says:

    Steven- While I agree with your three points, it seems like the loser (in this case, Gingrich) has a pretty good case. (And regarding the first point specifically, I think Romney would presumably have protested if he was the loser.)

  5. JohnMcC says:

    It’s all one piece with Mr Gingrich’s declaration of war on the “Republican establishment” — whatever that is. And it is a straw in the wind that could indicate a 3d party run or the threat of one. It will resonate with not just a small number of wingnuts.

    Mr Gingrich has lots of flaws but he knows to whom he is speaking.

  6. legion says:

    @JohnMcC: Well, if Gingrich does forge ahead with a 3rd party run, I’m fine with that – and I think every Democrat in the country will be too. Heck, as long as he keeps grifting megabucks from rich conservatives & funneling it into a doomed campaign, he’s doing more to stimulate top-1% spending into the US economy than any actual GOP economic plan would!

  7. ramorywebb says:

    Rules for Thee But Not Me

    Are the rules the rules ? The GOP should be enforcing the rules and taking exception to Florida’s giving all the delegates to Romney.

    The mess we have today is because bad behavior is not confronted. Regardless of motivation, at least one person is holding the GOP accountable for playing by the rules they wrote.

  8. Ernieyeball says:

    @ramorywebb: May be off topic but…Use the normal font for posting. Citizens who use all italic or all bold make the comments harder to read.

  9. David M says:

    There’s no reason for Gingrich not to challenge this, especially as the argument is pretty easy to make. “Enforce the rules as written.” It’s free delegates if he wins and evidence he’s taking the nomination seriously to his supporters either way.

  10. Just 'nuta ig'rant cracker says:

    @ramorywebb: @David M: It seems as though both of you are begging the question. How do you know that the GOP is going to seat the Florida delegation at all? Don’t yell “ow” before you know you’ve been hurt.

  11. ramorywebb says:

    @Just ‘nuta ig’rant cracker:

    I don’t know as you don’t know what National will do. I commented on the facst as they exist today.

  12. MarkedMan says:

    Please. The National will seat the Florida delegation. By then the race will have been decided. Do you really think the National will want some side show issue about Florida’s delegates to take away from the enthronement?