OTR Interviews

So ... does the winner really take all in Florida? Not so, says the Gingrich campaign

Why Newt Gingrich's campaign is challenging the 'winner-take-all' provision in the Florida primary


This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," February 1, 2012. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: Well, there's news tonight in the battle for the GOP nomination. The Florida primary may not be over just yet. The Newt Gingrich campaign is gearing up to challenge the results. Fox News has learned the Gingrich campaign will contest the winner-take-all rule. Now, under that rule, Governor Mitt Romney would get all 50 of Florida's delegates.

Former Florida attorney general and Gingrich supporter Bill McCollum is leading the challenge. He joins us. Nice to see you, sir. So what is the problem?

BILL MCCOLLUM, GINGRICH SUPPORTER/FORMER FLORIDA ATTORNEY GENERAL: Well, back when, they had to decide what to do about states that decided they were going to have their primaries early, the Republican National Committee voted, their rules committee did, that if you were an early state and broke the rules, like Florida did, that you had to have your delegates proportioned proportionately and not the winner-take-all. And that is on the rules book right.

And frankly, they haven't enforced that rule and they claim they don't have the power or something to levy a penalty. Of course they do. It's not a penalty issue. It's a question of the fact that they issued a rule, so that's the way it's going to be.

VAN SUSTEREN: How do you...

MCCOLLUM: That's the party deal.

VAN SUSTEREN: How do you answer the fact that the -- the penalty they did give Florida -- Florida advancing its primary is that they got its delegates cut in half. That's why they're down to 50 to begin with. Is this a second punishment, or is it a separate...

MCCOLLUM: It's not a punishment. It's a rule that says right up front that that's what happens. It's not a punishment. It's not, like, hey, they had already decided to cut them in half. It's a question of they said it's going to be proportional.

So what's going to happen here, Greta, very straightforward, is there is a contest already because only takes one person to make that request. That was done by not our campaign, but we certainly would back it up. It was done by a state committeeman in Florida back sometime ago in November. And he reiterated it recently.

It's my understanding there is a contest committee to which this has been or should be referred. And I have reason to believe that just talking anecdotally to various National Committeemen and Committeewomen, that quite a few of them on that committee and on the rules committee who are very, very unhappy that the chairman is not enforcing or choosing to enforce this rule or saying he's going to, which might, if it's not brought up sooner, which I think it will be, I can't imagine with all the furor that's going to happen over it, won't be, but if it's not brought up and decided by the National Committee sooner, it's going to be a contest at the convention.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, now, who makes the decision? Is the RNC chairman, Reince Priebus, who's going to be here later in the hour, or is it the head of the Republican Party in Florida?

MCCOLLUM: Well, it's Reince Priebus. It's a national rule. It's a Republican National Committee rule. It's not a law question. It's not a question of law. It's a question of the rules of the party.

And so ultimately, it's what his members think. It's what he thinks up front, and then beyond that is what the members of the National Committee think. And they can vote on all these things.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, leaving the Florida primary, when it ended on Tuesday night, everyone thought that Governor Romney had 50 and that Speaker Gingrich had zero because it's winner-take-all. In the even that your argument were to prevail, any idea what the numbers approximately would be? What percentage...

MCCOLLUM: Well, first of all, Newt got about -- Newt Gingrich, my candidate, got about 32 percent or so. And I would assume that means 16 delegates, roughly, that would go to him out of the 50. And then you've got Governor Romney losing even more than that because he got less than 50 percent of the delegates. And so it's a big difference in this in terms of what might be an outcome.

Plus, it says, hey, look, you know, there's a big difference when you look at the map in Florida and see there were counties that went to Gingrich, et cetera, et cetera. So I think it'd be very, very different.

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, the chairman of the Republican Party, Reince Priebus, will be with us in a few minutes and we'll see what he has to say. Nice to see you, sir.

MCCOLLUM: Good to see you, too. Thank you.