GOP Mulling Changes to Picking Presidential Candidate in 2016

The GOP is quietly considering a number of changes to their nominating process in 2016 to give their eventual nominee a better chance of winning the White House.

CNN reports the Republican National Committee is considering limiting the number of primary debates for candidates, and playing a bigger role in selecting who will moderate those contests. Many Republicans say the large number of debates in 2012 forced eventual nominee Mitt Romney to take some extreme positions to compete with fringe candidates which hurt him during the general election.

Other changes under consideration:

  • The first four early-voting states — Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada — would continue to hold their contests in February.

    To prevent other states from jumping the order and compelling the first four to move their dates even earlier as they did in 2012, any state that attempts to hold its nominating contest before March 1 would have their number of delegates to the convention slashed to just nine people or, in the case of smaller states, one-third of their delegation — whichever number is smaller.

  • Any state holding a primary or caucus during the first two weeks of March must award its delegates proportionally, rather than winner-take-all.

    The measure is designed to prevent a candidate from catching fire in the early states and then riding a burst of momentum to winner-take-all victories in expensive, delegate-rich states such as Florida or Texas. The early March window would give underfunded, insurgent candidates a chance to prove their mettle.

  • The Republican National Convention will be held either in late June or early July, though ideally on a date before the July 4 holiday. The decision on where to hold the convention will be made at a later date by a separate RNC panel, but Las Vegas and Kansas City are seen as two early frontrunners. Party officials said each city’s host committee seems willing and able to raise the nearly $60 million needed to fund a sprawling convention.