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Shifting Primary Schedule Intended to Make GOP Candidate in 2016 Stronger

During the 2012 convention, the committee voted to award just 12 delegates to any states that tried to hold early primaries or caucuses to dissuade them from attempting to move up the date.

Under the new rules, states with 30 delegates or more would be cut down to nine delegates plus the RNC’s committee members from that state. States with 29 or fewer total delegates would get six delegates plus the committee members.

The third rule requires state parties to pick their delegates no later than 45 days before the convention, 10 days earlier than current rules. This is meant to encourage states to wrap up early and complete the delegate selection process by mid-May.

RNC Chairman Reince Priebus wants the party’s 2016 convention to happen between June 27 and July 18. The official date will be announced this spring, and the location will be selected at a summer meeting.

Possible convention sites include Phoenix, Las Vegas, Kansas City, Columbus, and Denver.

The earlier date would allow the Republican Party’s presidential candidate more time to spend funds reserved for the general election. Romney’s presidential campaign was cash-strapped after the long fight to win the Republican nomination and election rules prevented his campaign from opening its general election war chest until after the party’s convention in August.

Not all members of the rules committee were happy with the changes, though.

Morton Blackwell, a national committeeman from Virginia, vociferously complained that compressing the calendar would not allow a dark horse candidate to build momentum for a potential upset against a better-funded, establishment candidate.

The RNC’s full governing body adopted the rules on a near-unanimous 153-9 vote Friday at the committee’s winter meeting, which runs through Saturday in Washington.