The First Votes of the Next GOP Presidential Primary Will Be Cast in February 2016

The Republican National Committee adopted new rules for the 2016 presidential primary today:

o The carve outs (Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada) remain in February

o Other states can start their contests on or after March 1

o The proportional window is reinstated but for a shorter duration. Any contest between March 1st and March 14th will be proportional

(This means that the early states cannot allocate their delegates in a winner-take-all format.)

o Any contest after March 14th can go proportional or winner take all

o The window for selection of alternates and delegates moved from 35 days before the convention to 45 days before the convention. There is a waiver process for states that are required by law to hold a primary but are not in compliance with the 45 day window and aren’t under Republican control.

o New penalties: “If any state or state Republican Party violates Rule No. 16(c)(1) of The Rules of the Republican Party, the number of delegates to the national convention shall be reduced for those states with 30 or more total delegates to nine (9) plus the members of the Republican National Committee from that state, and for those states with 29 or fewer total delegates to six (6) plus the members of the Republican National Committee from that state. The corresponding alternate delegates shall also be reduced accordingly.

March 1 is a Tuesday, so look for that to become the new Super Tuesday.

If the first four states space themselves out, the Iowa caucus will be February 2, 2016 (Groundhog Day!), the New Hampshire primary will be February 9, the South Carolina primary will be February 16, and the Nevada caucus will be February 23. (UPDATE: University of Iowa professor Tim Hagle tweets that the Iowa caucuses are usually held on a Monday, so he thinks it’s more likely that the caucus will be February 1.)

The RNC also named twelve members to its 2016 Convention Site Selection Committee. The RNC has not specified the date of the convention, but chairman Reince Priebus said he wants a “late June, early July” convention. In recent cycles, the parties have held their conventions in late August or early September, trying to get their post-convention bump as close to the fall campaign as possible.

Cities competing to host the 2016 Republican convention include Las Vegas, Denver, Phoenix, Kansas City, and Columbus, Ohio.

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