The RNC Race and Presidential Calendar

The Republican National Committee is voting on a new chairman as we speak (or, if you want to get technical, as I write). After three ...
by | January 30, 2009
 

The Republican National Committee is voting on a new chairman as we speak (or, if you want to get technical, as I write). After three ballots, former Maryland Lt. Gov. Michael Steele is the leading candidate.

RNC rules don't require candidates to drop out when they finish last, however, so really anything could happen. In theory, there could be five, ten, fifteen, five million additional ballots before a winner is picked.

While we wait for the results, I wanted to highlight something Marc Ambinder wrote the other day. Under the surface, the RNC chairman's race may be about the 2012 presidential primary calender:

Republican rules for the first time give the members of the Republican National Committee, by a 2/3 vote, the option of adopting a mandatory 2012 state primary election calendar.

...

So -- the key factor in the RNC race is that the Rule must be presented to the RNC by a drafting committee largely appointed by the RNC Chairman and cannot be amended by the RNC membership.

Thus the new RNC Chairman could wield enormous power over the shape of the 2012 Presidential race and the composition of the 2012 convention which could adopt additional rules that would have even more impact on the future of the party.

Of course, the RNC can only go so far imposing a mandatory primary calendar. It's state legislatures that decide when primaries are held. And, many state legislatures these days are controlled by Democrats.

Josh Goodman
Josh Goodman  |  Former Staff Writer
mailbox@governing.com

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