Florida GOP finalizes convention delegate list, make final plea to RNC

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The Florida Republican Party still hasn’t named the individuals who will be representing them at the Tampa convention in August, holding out hope that last-minute negotiations with the RNC will result in more delegates being seated, reports Nora McAlvanah.

Since the Florida GOP violated the national party’s sanctioned primary schedule, the state delegation was penalized with reduced guest passes, reduced priority seating on the floor and unfavorable hotel assignments.  But the most significant penalty for holding the primary early cut the number of delegates in half, from 99 to 50.

In April, working under the assumption that the party would seat Florida’s delegates but not give them all voting rights as the RNC did four years ago, leaders approved a full slate of 99 delegates and 96 alternates. The full roster was comprised of two delegates from each of the state’s 25 congressional districts and the rest at-large choices selected by the party chairman and approved by the RPOF Board.

But in May, with the RNC remaining steadfast in keeping the penalty, Florida Republican Party Chair Lenny Curry, along with Congressional District Chairs, picked the 50 delegates and 48 alternates from the full allotment of delegates.

RPOF Delegate Selection Rules dictate that Curry, along with caucus representatives, chose at least one delegate from each of Florida’s 25 congressional districts, and 25 remaining delegates–who will be Delegates at Large.

As it stands now, including the alternates, a total of 98 will be credentialed, but only 50 will be allowed on the floor to vote. In addition to the 50 delegates and 48 alternates, the state delegation may also receive a limited number of non-voting guest passes, which has yet to be determined.

While Curry has finalized the list of delegates, he is holding off on releasing it in hopes that the RNC will show some mercy. “The delegate list needs to be certified by the party a month before the convention, so it will be released this week or next,” said RPOF Press Secretary Kristen McDonald.

With the clock ticking, Florida Republicans are holding out hope that a better compromise can be negotiated at the 11th hour.  “We still have two weeks to get a better deal,” said Palm Beach County Republican Chairman Sid Dinerstein, who would normally be a delegate but because of the penalty will probably be an alternate this year.

Republican National Committee officials, who have repeatedly rebuffed attempts by the state to seat more non-voting delegates, said they have no intention of bending the rules.

 “Florida violated the party rules and as such will have 50 delegates at the convention.  We have countless additional ways for our supporters in Florida to join in convention activities,” said RNC Communications Director Sean Spicer.

In a final attempt to plead their case, Florida Republicans have enlisted the one person who may be able to lobby the national party: Mitt Romney.

 “We’ve asked the Romney to make a last minute pitch to the Rules Committee,” said Peter Feaman, a Republican national committeeman from Boca Raton.

Asked what he thinks the probability is that the RNC will compromise, Feaman said he thinks there’s a “50/50 chance, maybe better.”

Meanwhile, a Romney campaign spokesperson declined to comment when asked if the presumptive Republican nominee was in negotiations with the national party on Florida’s behalf.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.