As Republicans look for ways to curtail the lengthy primary battle and limit collateral damage during the process, some new ideas are being floated aimed at giving the eventual nominee an advantage. Among other things, the party is considering new “super” primary days featuring different regions of the country as well as an earlier convention.
Report from The Daily Beast:
The national Republican Party is considering a number of major changes to its presidential nominating process to avoid a repeat of the debacles of 2012, according to several party officials.
Most significantly, the party is considering holding a “Midwestern primary” featuring Great Lakes states such as Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, and Wisconsin that would come immediately after the votes in the traditional early primary states. Also being weighed and thought likely to be approved when the Republican National Committee meets in early 2014 is a plan to shorten the primary season considerably by holding the party’s convention in July, almost as soon as the last primary ballots are cast.
The move toward a “Midwestern Super Tuesday” after the early primary states of Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Florida appears aimed in part at wresting control of the nominating process from social conservatives in the South in an effort to produce a nominee more likely to carry the election in November. Nearly all the “Rust Belt” states have fallen into Democratic hands in recent elections, and GOP officials believe that showering them with more resources throughout the primary process—and ensuring that an eventual nominee is broadly popular there—could flip the Midwest into the Republican column in November.
“The idea here is to try to recapture an area of the country that Republicans have simply not been able to carry,” said one GOP insider familiar with the plans.
According to GOP insiders, national party chairman Reince Priebus favors the regional primary system, but how much power he will have when the Republican National Committee convenes in January is in question. Primaries are determined by individual states, and a national chairman is limited to penalizing those state parties that go against the plan, either by limiting the number of delegates they can bring to the convention or by rendering the votes there “beauty contests” that have no bearing on determining the ultimate winner.
This would be the biggest primary process shakeup in years should any of it get enacted. Republicans are fearing a replay of 2012 but maybe they’re recreating a replay of 2008 when Hillary Clinton was easily the presumed Democrat nominee. In this case, most of these changes are being considered to give the GOP nominee a step ahead of the Clinton political machine since, once again, Hillary is the presumed democratic nominee in 2016.