GOP may tighten primary rules for 2016 presidential nominations

Dec. 11, 2013 at 11:31 AM
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WASHINGTON, Dec. 11 (UPI) -- Members of the Republican National Committee are reportedly eyeing changes that would tighten rules for party primaries ahead of the 2016 presidential election.

The rules changes are aimed at streamlining a process that some party officials believe hurt Mitt Romney's campaign in 2012, CNN reported Wednesday.

The changes have been under discussion in a series of closed-meetings that began in August between hand-picked members of the RNC and party Chairman Reince Priebus. Proposals include shortening the time frame for nominations, moving the party's convention to June and punishing states that violate the established order for primaries and caucuses, CNN said.

The 17 members of the special rules committee also could limit the number of Republican primary debates ahead of the election. The 2012 election had 20 Republican debates.

Those familiar with the committee's discussion also say there is "heavy appetite" for party officials to decide which journalists cover the debates, CNN said.

While the committee is comprised in part of veteran party pragmatists and grassroots conservatives, subcommittee member James Smack, a supporter of Rand Paul, said "all groups are being represented."

Any changes must be ratified by the RNC's Standing Committee on Rules, a vote that could occur as early as January, and ultimately approved by the full 168 members of the RNC before next summer.

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