GOP looks to avoid destructive primary fights

Republican National Committee officials are set to vote this week on a rules package that would discourage the kind of grueling march to the presidential nomination that occurred in 2012, when the race swung from Mitt Romney to Newt Gingrich to Rick Santorum and finally back to Romney in April.

“It dragged on too long,” said Henry Barbour, an RNC committeeman on the rules committee. “We need it to be a little faster, we don’t want it to be a sprint.”

Recommended changes under consideration would carve out the month of February for the traditional Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, and South Carolina contests and impose stricter penalties on states that try to jump in line, according to RNC officials.
The new rules would require states to reward delegates proportionally after that, but only for a brief two-week period, down from four in 2012.

And, perhaps most importantly, the new rules would require states to pick their delegates no later than 45 days before the convention. Given that the convention is likely to be pushed way back to late June or early July, that means mid-May is the likely end point for any contests.