Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus said Friday he’ll move up the national convention, shorten the primary season and hand-pick debate hosts to improve the chances of a Republican winning the White House in 2016. “This is what we need to do to protect our party,” said Priebus, speaking to Michigan Republicans at the Grand Hotel. Before the dinnertime crowd, Priebus outlined his high profile effort to transform the primary calendar in wake of brutal and protracted primary season in 2012 that ended with a loss for GOP nominee and Michigan native Mitt Romney. Priebus wants to move the national convention from August to June. By choosing the nominee earlier, the candidate can spend general fund campaign dollars against the Democratic opponent well in advance of the November election.
The primary season will be shortened as a result. States that move up their dates to gain more influence will no longer be slapped on the wrist, but assessed a “death penalty” by losing all but nine of their delegates to the national convention, he said.
Michigan has a history of bucking party rules by holding early primaries and would be impacted by this rule.
Priebus pledged to end the “23-debate circus” that battered GOP primary candidates last cycle. “This is not an establishment takeover,” he said. “This is using your brain.”
And for the biggest cheer of the night, Priebus said: “We’re not going to have CNN and NBC host our debates.”