The Republican National Committee has agreed to tighten the party's nomination calendar and moved up its 2016 convention to June.
The convention date move, which will be set later this year, would make it the earliest for the GOP since 1948, CNN reports
Earlier this week, RNC Chairman Reince Preibus said in an exclusive interview with Newsmax
the nominating process changes "will allow enough opportunity for candidates to make the case to voters at primaries and state conventions, but not enough time for them to slice and dice each other."
"I can't always control people's mouths," Priebus said. "But I can take responsible steps to keep people from killing each other."
The changes were approved by the RNC rules committee Thursday and ratified by the full RNC winter meeting Friday, reports USAToday
Under the nominating process revamp, Iowa and New Hampshire still hang onto their coveted spots atop the presidential primary calendar – as do South Carolina and Nevada; all four will host the first contests in February 2016 while the other 46 states and territories would vote between early March and mid-May.
In both the 2008 and 2012 nominating contests, states anxious to be among the first contests pushed the nominating calendar into early January – and the scramble proved detrimental to the GOP.
"It dragged, and that wasn't helpful to us," Henry Barbour, an RNC member from Mississippi told USA Today.
The RNC also intends to slash the number of presidential debates and have more control over the moderators.
"Big reforms are coming to our presidential nominating process — reforms that put Republican voters, not the liberal media, in the driver's seat," Priebus said.
Officials from early voting states praised the plan, which establishes strict penalties for states that jump out of order, as Florida did in 2012.
Republican national committeeman Steve Duprey of New Hampshire described the changes as an "effective death penalty for any state that tries to jump the calendar."
"This will be the best protection that New Hampshire has ever had for its primary," he said.
But not everyone was on board.
"I think we're going too far in shortening this process," Republican committeeman Morton Blackwell of Virginia said. "We need an adequate amount of time in order for presidential candidates to be tested."
According to the Washington Post
, other changes call for states with nominating contests between March 1 and March 14 to allocate their delegates proportionally rather than on a winner-take-all basis – a move to designed to discourage the other 46 states from holding all their contests in early March; and for states to select their delegates at least 45 days prior to the convention, which combined with the earlier convention date, also tightens the primary schedule.
With the earlier convention date, theGOP’s 2016 nominee will have a huge financial and strategic edge over Mitt Romney’s position in 2012, when he had to wait until he was nominated in late August before he could spend campaign money raised for the general election –and was outspent by a 3-to-1 margin on TV all summer long by President Obama.
Cities competing for the site are Las Vegas, Denver, Kansas City, Mo., and Columbus, Ohio; a selection will be made no earlier than this summer.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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