When we first reported last week that Republicans tied to losing Florida campaigns might challenge the state's presidential primary delegate system, Newt Gingrich's campaign looked like it wouldn't bother because the candidate was doing so well.
Then Tuesday happened. Gingrich was crushed by 14 percentage points. Viola, FOX reports:
The Newt Gingrich campaign is gearing up to challenge the results of the Florida Republican presidential primary based on the Republican National Committee's own rules which state that no contest can be winner-take-all prior to April 1, 2012. (See RNC memo.)
It was assumed that Mitt Romney, who won Tuesday's contest, would gain all 50 of the state's delegates. But the Gingrich campaign plans to challenge Florida's allocation and demand the delegates be divvied up proportionally. (See Gingrich memo.)
Fox News has learned exclusively that on Thursday, a Florida Gingrich campaign official will begin the process of trying to have the RNC rules enforced so that the Sunshine State delegates are distributed based on the percentage of the vote each candidate got.
Politico has an RNC memo the suggests Florida has received its maximum penalty:
"With regard to proportionality, the RNC does not have the authority to intervene in a state’s primary plans beyond the imposition of the Rule 16 penalties. A contest procedure exists for challenges to a state’s delegation or delegates. The RNC cannot consider any issue regarding Florida’s delegation unless and until a proper contest is brought. If a contest is properly and timely filed, the Committee on Contests and the RNC will have the opportunity to hear the contest and determine if there are any further steps to be taken beyond the penalties that have already been imposed."
**Update: RNC Chair Reince Priebus suggested on Greta Van Susteren's show that Gingrich's challenge won't pass muster.