August 17, 2012 at 5:32 pm
By Jacob Carpenter, Naples Daily News
Less than two weeks before Republicans descend on Tampa, the Republican Party of Florida has yet to release names of the state’s 98 delegates — about half of whom aren’t expected to be officially seated.
The delay comes as state officials continue to negotiate with the Republican National Committee, which stripped Florida of half its delegates for moving up its presidential primary date to Jan. 31. The minor wrist slap won’t have any bearing on the outcome of the convention, where all state delegates are expected to endorse Romney.
“It’s unpleasant to know you elected a delegate who will be cut, but (the convention) is really just a show of unity for the party,” said Frank Schwerin, chairman of the Collier County Republican Executive Committee and one of the delegates not seated. “We don’t have a brokered convention or anything. … If it was a three-way race between ( Rick) Santorum, Newt (Gingrich) and Mitt, you could be assured there would be lawsuits and such about how they cut the seats.”
Gov. Rick Scott said he and his wife, Ann, have both been asked to serve as Florida delegates.
“The convention will be a lot of fun,” said Scott, who is also slated to be a speaker.
The state party is “continuing to work with the RNC on final seating arrangements,” an RPOF spokeswoman said in an email, but Schwerin expressed little optimism that he and the other 47 stripped delegates would be officially seated.
“Right now it’s near certain we’re only going to have 50 delegates and about 50 alternates,” Schwerin said.
By contrast, the Florida Democratic Party released its list of 300 delegates for its party convention, held in early September in Charlotte, N.C. They were selected during a convention in early June.