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A GOP stalemate on states’ calendars

From the Associated Press

Republicans in five states will push ahead with early nominating contests, undeterred by party leaders’ decision Thursday to punish them by excluding half their convention delegates.

Seeking to restore order to a chaotic primary calendar, Republican National Committee Chairman Mike Duncan said New Hampshire, Florida, South Carolina, Michigan and Wyoming 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. “They give me no options.”

Iowa, which plans to hold Republican caucuses Jan. 3, would not be penalized because, technically, the caucuses are not binding on convention delegates. Nevada, which plans to hold its caucuses Jan. 19, would not be penalized for the same reason.

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The Republican National Committee voted 121-9 Thursday to impose the penalties. Duncan, who has final say over the matter, said he would go along.

The states “were made fully aware of what the consequences would be,” he said.

Nevertheless, state party leaders were optimistic their entire delegations would be seated, perhaps hoping the eventual nominee would restore them.

At the national convention, a credentialing committee accepts the official list of delegates in attendance, a usually perfunctory process that could become contentious.

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“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.”

Wyoming is scheduled to hold its nominating conventions Jan. 5. Michigan is to hold its Republican primary on Jan. 15, South Carolina on Jan. 19 and Florida on Jan. 29.

New Hampshire has not yet set a primary date, though state law requires that it hold its primary at least seven days before any other. New Hampshire Secretary of State Bill Gardner met a legal deadline this week that allows him to schedule the primary in early December if necessary.

The Republican nominee for president will have to win a majority of the 2,380 delegates to the convention.

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