GOP Crafts New Rules To Shorten 2016 Primary Season : It's All Politics With a February start and a June convention, the party hopes to regain some control over the chaotic presidential nominating process. Among the proposed changes: a June convention.

GOP Crafts New Rules To Shorten 2016 Primary Season

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney and vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan on stage with their wives Ann Romney and Janna Ryan at the Republican National Convention on Aug. 30. Jae C. Hong/AP hide caption

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Jae C. Hong/AP

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney and vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan on stage with their wives Ann Romney and Janna Ryan at the Republican National Convention on Aug. 30.

Jae C. Hong/AP

A year after losing the popular vote for the fifth time in the past six presidential elections, the Republican Party has crafted a series of rules tweaks designed to regain control of — and dramatically shorten — its presidential nominating process.

Republicans may not have figured out how to connect better with minority groups yet. Neither have they settled on how to cut down on the primary debates where their candidates take turns eviscerating each other.

The subcommittee charged with looking for fixes has approved five proposed changes for review by the Republican National Committee's rules committee at its January meeting. The full RNC would then need to pass the changes by a three-quarters supermajority.

But a year after having lost the popular vote for the fifth time in the last six presidential elections, the party has crafted a series of rules tweaks designed to regain control of and dramatically shorten its presidential nominating process.

"I think this strikes a good balance," said John Ryder, the RNC's general counsel.

The subcommittee charged with looking for fixes has approved five proposed changes for review by the Republican National Committee's rules committee at its January meeting. The full RNC would then need to pass the changes by a three-quarters supermajority.

February 2016 would be set aside for the traditional early states: Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada. The other states could start as soon as March 1, but could not hold winner-take-all contests before March 15. Larger states that violate either of those rules would lose all but nine of their delegates to the summer nominating convention, not counting their three RNC members who are automatic delegates. Smaller states would lose two-thirds of their delegates, not including the three RNC members.

"I think this strikes a good balance," said John Ryder, the RNC's general counsel.

At the back end of the calendar, state parties would have to submit their slates of convention delegates 45 days prior to the convention, rather than 35 days. With RNC leaders hoping to schedule the convention in late June, rather than late August, this would mean the last primaries and caucuses would have to be set for mid-May — thereby cutting what was a six-month-long process in 2012 down to 3 1/2 months.

February of 2016 would be set aside for the traditional early states: Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada. The other states could start as soon as March 1, but could not hold winner-take-all contests before March 15. Larger states that violate either of those rules would lose all but nine of their delegates to the summer nominating convention, not counting their three RNC members who are automatic delegates. Smaller states would lose two-thirds of their delegates, not including the three RNC members.

The balancing act, Ryder said, was to compress the calendar without giving an insurmountable advantage to a candidate who has "$200 million on day one."

At the back end of the calendar, state parties would have to submit their slates of convention delegates 45 days prior to the convention, rather than 35 days. With RNC leaders hoping to schedule the convention in late June, rather than late August, this would mean the last primaries and caucuses would have to be set for mid-May – thereby cutting what was a six-month process in 2012 down to three and a half months.

The weeks and months leading up to Iowa and New Hampshire, in particular, would still be the time for low-budget candidates to make their case directly to the voters. Success in those contests could be parlayed into stronger fundraising heading into the first half of March, when the proportional-only mandate would mean that second- and third-place finishers could continue to win significant numbers of delegates.

The balancing act, Ryder said, was to compress the calendar without giving an insurmountable advantage to a candidate who has "$200 million on day one."

"It gives a six-week period for a retail candidacy to take hold, if it's going to take hold," Ryder said.

The weeks and months leading up to Iowa and New Hampshire, particularly, would still be the time for low-budget candidates to make their case directly to the voters. Success in those contests could be parlayed into stronger fundraising heading into the first half of March, when the proportional-only mandate would mean that second- and third-place finishers could still win significant numbers of delegates.