Tuesday, May 06, 2008

GOP Proposes New Primary Calendar

By Stephen Ohlemacher, AP
2 April 2008

WASHINGTON (AP) - A Republican Party rules committee voted Wednesday to allow small states to hold nominating contests before big states in 2012, which would preserve the traditional roles of Iowa and New Hampshire as the earliest voting states.

Larger states would be placed into three groups that would rotate the dates of their nominating contests.

With this year's GOP nominee chosen, Republicans already are moving to regain control of the presidential primary calendar four years from now. Ohio GOP Chairman Robert Bennett, who developed the plan, said a coordinated primary calendar is necessary because so many states were moving their primaries earlier.

"Nobody wants a national primary," Bennett said in a telephone interview from the GOP meeting near Albuquerque, N.M. "When you have a national primary you eliminate retail politics. You eliminate the ability of candidates to sit in somebody's living room and talk to them."

Bennett said he accepted the special early voting status for Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina as a political reality he cannot change.

This year, Iowa started the voting with its caucuses on Jan. 3, and more than 20 states staged a de facto national primary on Feb. 5.

Michigan GOP Chairman Saul Anuzis said Iowa and New Hampshire shouldn't be allowed to vote first just because they have in the past.


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