7 States Expected To File GOP Primary Calendars

Tuesday, September 4th 2007, 11:25 am
By: News On 6

WASHINGTON (AP) _ As many as seven states are expected to flout Republican rules Tuesday and schedule their presidential primaries or caucuses before Feb. 5, establishing an unprecedented early start to the nominating process.

The early voting states risk losing half their delegates to the Republican convention next summer, though some are banking that whoever wins the GOP nomination will eventually restore the delegates.

Tuesday is the deadline for states to submit to the Republican National Committee the date and format of their primaries or caucuses.

GOP rules call for states that schedule their nominating contests before Feb. 5 to lose half their delegates to the convention, though the national party is not expected to take any action Tuesday.

That will come later when RNC Chairman Mike Duncan formally invites states to the nominating convention in Minneapolis-St. Paul next summer and declares how many delegates each state gets. He must issue the invitation, or call, to the convention by Dec. 31.

Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, Nevada, Florida and Wyoming are expected to vote in January, and Michigan is ready to complete a similar move. Dates and delegate allotments are in flux as states jockey for earlier contests.

The Democrats have similar issues with their nominating calendar. On Aug. 25, a national Democratic rules committee voted to strip Florida of all its delegates to the Democratic convention unless it reschedules its planned Jan. 29 primary.

Michigan is ready to make a similar move, risking its delegates as well. The top Democratic candidates for president have all signed pledges not to campaign in Florida or Michigan if they do not reschedule their primaries to later dates.

Under the Democratic rules, the only states that may hold a primary before Feb. 5 are New Hampshire, Iowa, South Carolina, and Nevada. Iowa is slated for Jan. 14, Nevada on Jan. 19, New Hampshire on Jan. 22 and South Carolina on Jan. 29.

GOP rules have no exceptions to the Feb. 5 requirement.