Is Republican National Committee Chair Reince Priebus looking to shake things up in the GOP presidential primary? In an interview with National Journal, Priebus suggested the road to the nomination calendar is not set in stone:
“It’s a hot topic. These early states are very used to fighting this out every four years. It’s just something I think we ought to look at as a party,” Priebus said. “If you look at my history, I’ve been very supportive of the early states as general counsel and as chairman. But I don’t think anyone should get too comfortable.”
Priebus shared some specific ways he’d like to see the process altered:
“One of the things I would have been interested in doing is sort of like a rotating primary process, where you would divide the country into five quadrants and have a primary about once every two weeks. And then you could have about a 10-week primary process,” Priebus said. “I’ve always been intrigued by that idea.”
Voters in Iowa and New Hampshire are likely not thrilled with the RNC’s musings. They have enjoyed early voting status and setting the tone in presidential elections for years. To give up that power would be bitter indeed.
New Hampshire Secretary of State Bill Gardner dismissed Priebus's remarks and promised to schedule his state’s primary at least seven days before any other:
“We have a state law,” Gardner said. “With the law, we’re going to have the presidential primary, and it’s going to honor the tradition until the day comes that it’s the will of the people here not to do that.”
Yet, candidates have several complaints about offering these states first dibs. For one, the Iowa Caucus has rarely picked the eventual GOP nominee. Second, they argue the state is not representative, considering Iowa caucusgoers tend to vote socially conservative. Third, the caucus generally reports low turnout. As for New Hampshire, voters complain its small population prevents it from being a fair representation of the country.
The RNC will release its 2016 primary schedule later this week.
Is it time to give the other 48 a chance?