News; Florida GOPers Try To Preserve Delegate Strength

Some news that every Republican presidential campaign has taken note of: the winner of the Jan. 29 Republican primary in Florida could get all the delegates. The current winner-take-all-by-congressional-district rules might be jettisoned.

Here's how.

By holding its primary on Jan. 29, Florida is likely to violate the Republican National Committee's delegate selection rules. The number of delegates sent to the convention would be cut in half. If that happened, it's very likely that state chair Jim Greer would, under new powers granted to him on Saturday, elect to grant the winner of the state's primary all of its delegates.

Why? Greer wants to make sure Florida has a large presence at the RNC convention regardless of what the RNC does. And he wants to make his state remains a campaign beacon to candidates. 57 delegates is not as attractive as 114, but it's a lot more attractive, than, say, 30 delegates -- or the number of delegates the winner would have earned under the old rules.

Here is the full text of Article M, which the state party's rules committee passed Sat.:

In the event that the RNC imposes the 50 percent delegate cut, Florida's 57 delegates will be Winner Takes All, selected by the Chairman (as opposed to current hybrid of selection by Congressional District caucuses and At Large appointments), and the WTA delegates will bound to that winner for the first 3 rounds of voting.

Of the early states, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut and Delaware are winner-take-all, thanks to the direct intervention of Giuliani partisans on the state committees. If Giuliani's Feb. 5 strategy pays off, he can thank his campaign's behind-the-scenes political maneuvering.