The Republican National Committee narrowly approved significant changes to its presidential nominating calendar designed to delay and stretch out the 2012 primaries and caucuses.
Under the new rule, no state could hold a primary or caucus before February 2012. That month, just four states — New Hampshire, Iowa, South Carolina and Nevada — could hold presidential contests without penalty.
The other states could hold nominating elections in March but would have to award delegates “proportionately,” as each state defines that term.
States could also wait until April, when they could hold winner-take-all primaries, which Republicans generally prefer.
Some states wanted to keep the old calendar. But former New Hampshire Gov. John Sununu said that would cause “chaos” similar to the 2008 election, when Iowa and New Hampshire held presidential nominating events just days into the new year to protect their “first in the nation” status.
“I promise you, you will realize too late, if you don’t support this, that we, in creating chaos again, will end up with the wrong nominee,” Sununu said. “And we will allow Barack Obama to waltz into the White House.”
The changes won’t take effect unless the Democratic National Committee agrees. The Democratic committee will discuss the primary calendar later this summer.