Don’t expect to see two dozen debates between the 2016 Republican presidential candidates, nor “biased” questions from debate moderators.
Oh, and the National Republican Convention in 2016?
It won’t be in August, the traditional month, but in July.
The changes, says Utah GOP National Committeewoman Enid Greene Mickelsen, are both political and financial.
In 2012, the GOP presidential candidates – which included Utah favorite son Mitt Romney and former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr. – spent too much time bashing each other, and not enough time campaigning against Democratic President Barack Obama.
And the “news media” debate moderators also asked biased and leading questions in the 22 GOP debates, further making the Grand Old Party candidates look poorly to Americans.
Romney, the ultimate nominee, also had campaign financial problems because the Republican convention came so late in August.
Under Federal Election Commission rules, the final party nominee can’t start spending his general election contributions until he is formally picked in his national convention.
Even though everyone knew Romney had won the nomination by early summer, he couldn’t spend hundreds of millions of dollars against Obama until after the August GOP convention nominated him.
Those problems will be solved, Mickelsen told state GOP convention delegates last Saturday, through a special Republican National Committee group she sits upon.
Mickelsen is also the RNC chair of the committee that will pick the 2016 city to host the national convention. Utah Republicans organized to put forward a bid, but got out of the contest early because they couldn’t see a way to raise the $50 million needed from the host committee.
“If you want to write a check for $50 million,” Mickelsen told delegates when they groaned that Salt Lake City was not in the running, “then I’ll be glad to step aside” from chairing the search committee.
There’s been great arguments in recent years whether the host city to the GOP and Democratic national conventions end up making or losing money.
Romney admitted last year that his campaign donated millions of dollars to Tampa Bay, after that 2012 host city ran short of funds to pay off convention debt.
There will be fewer GOP presidential debates in 2016, said Mickelsen, and no more “hostile debate questioners.”
She didn’t put a number to GOP debates, saying there would be “considerably fewer.”
Various groups in states that are at the front of the presidential caucus/primaries usually hosted such debates in the past, and it is unclear how the RNC will control the number of those debates and their moderators.
“The moderators will be chosen because they are fair, not just to bump up their network’s ratings,” said Mickelsen.
Republicans have lost the popular presidential vote in five out of the last six elections. (George W. Bush lost the popular vote in 2000, but won the Electoral College vote, and the office.)
Mickelsen said fair GOP debates and the national convention give Republicans the chance to show the American voter what they stand for – how their values and policies are really best for the nation.
She said the RNC is out of debt with millions of dollars in the bank. Staffers are implementing new digital technology, and for the first time ever the RNC is paying for a full-time staff person in each of the 50 states’ Republican Party organizations.