RNC 2014 Winter Meeting "Building to Victory"  ...next >
Bruce Ash presides over the Rules Committee as it considers a package of changes to the presidential nomination rules developed by the Subcommittee on 2016 Delegate Selection Rules.   At the dais are Demetra DeMonte, RNC Secretary; Jim Bopp, RNC Special Counsel; Bruce Ash, Chairman of the Rules Committee; Roger Hanshaw, Parliamentarian; Louis Pope, Vice Chairman of the Rules Committee; and Sharon Day, RNC Vice Chairman.
The changes proposed by the subcomittee would:

a) increase the penalties on states violating the RNC's timing rules;

b) set a period at the beginning of March when states are to allocate delegates proportionally; and

c) move the delegate selection deadline 10 days earlier. 

(All these changes are designed to pave the wave for a national convention held in late June or the first part of July 2016, although that change was not directly addressed).

Randy Evans, RNC committeeman from Georgia who chaired the subcommittee, called for an up or down vote on the entire package of changes, emphasizing that "the rules are inextricably intertwined."  Evans said the changes will provide "the best opportunity to elect a Republican president in 2016."

Morton Blackwell, committeeman from Virginia (above at far right), raised strong objections throughout the preceedings.  His concern was that the changes could lead to a de facto national primary.
For example, under the rules changes developed by the subcommittee, states holding contests between March 1 and March 15 are to allocate delegates proportionately instead of by winner-take-all.  This addresses a concern that if a bunch of states held winner-take-all contests beginning March 1 there could be a runaway process, with the best-funded candidate able to lock up the nomination prematurely.  The 15-day "cooling off" period is intended to allow campaigns to regroup and perhaps capitalize upon successes in the early carve-out contests (Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina).  Blackwell argued that the cooling off period should extend from March 1 to March 31; in his view two weeks is "trivial" and "Insufficient."  "A month is short enough, but at least it's meaningful," he said.  Evans said that the subcommittee had considered a number of possibilities - 10 days, 21 days, 13 days, and 16 days - but had to settle on a number.  Blackwell's amendment was voted down as was another to change the date to March 16. 

Eventually, the Rules Committee approved the package of changes overwhelmingly. [fact sheet]
Bruce Ash, chairman of the Rules Committee.
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