RNC Chairman: Fla., NH, SC, Mich. and Ariz. will lose half their delegates

Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus said all states involved in the Republican primary calendar reshuffling will be docked half of their delegates, even though it was Florida that instigated the mad scramble.

Although Priebus said the penalties on New Hampshire, South Carolina, Michigan and Arizona would stick, he laid blame for the melee squarely on Florida.

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“I’m not going to lock [Florida] out of the convention, but they, by rule, will automatically lose half of their delegates,” Priebus told ABC’s Jonathan Karl on Tuesday. “There is no discretion. There is no coming back. There is no kumbaya that’s going to happen in a few months, and the nominee isn’t going to be able to do anything about it. They’re going to lose half of their delegates, and that’s a pretty serious penalty.”

Priebus said he couldn’t make any exceptions for the other states that moved their dates in response to the move by Florida.

“Now, the other three primary states — they’re the early carve-out states, so they’re also going to lose half of their delegates, even though it’s not necessarily their fault,” Priebus continued. “But it just goes to show you, I don’t have any discretion to undo the penalty. The penalty is there, the penalty is going to stick, and that’s all there is to it.”

The rules do not apply to Iowa, which holds a non-binding caucus, and Nevada avoided the penalty when it announced on Saturday that it would move its caucus date from Jan. 14 to Feb. 4.

Florida provoked a scheduling scramble when it shifted its primary to an earlier date, which set off a contentious game of leapfrog between the four states. Some believe that the benefits of holding the primary early outweigh the benefits of full representation at the convention, when it might already be clear who the nominee will be.

The Republican National Convention will be held next year in Tampa.