New measures would help N.H. keep first-in-nation status

Posted Aug. 31, 2012, at 7:03 a.m.

DOVER, N.H. — Delegates to the Republican National Convention have approved measures that could help New Hampshire preserve its early presidential primary.

One allows New Hampshire to move its primary ahead of other states without the risk of losing any of its delegates to the Republican presidential nominating convention. The GOP also approved a new, stiffer penalty for states that hold primary elections ahead of schedule.

Previously, states that violated the primary calendar adopted by the national Republican party risked losing half of their delegates.

That sanction wasn’t harsh enough to prevent Florida from jumping ahead this year. Florida scheduled a Jan. 31 primary, and other states followed suit, forcing New Hampshire Secretary of State Bill Gardner to settle on Jan. 10 for the state primary. An existing New Hampshire law requires election officials to hold the state primary at least one week before any similar election in another state.

In a largely procedural vote, delegates to this year’s Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla., agreed Tuesday to adopt changes to the party’s internal rules, including the so-called “super penalty” for states that jump ahead during the primary season.

Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada, the four early primary states, will be exempt from the penalty. New Hampshire RNC Committeewoman Phyllis Woods, of Dover, said the changes will safeguard New Hampshire delegates in the next election cycle.

“It’s very, very beneficial to us to have a strong sanction for any state who moves ahead,” she told Foster’s last week.

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(c)2012 the Foster’s Daily Democrat (Dover, N.H.)

Visit the Foster’s Daily Democrat (Dover, N.H.) at www.fosters.com

Distributed by MCT Information Services

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