Concord, New Hampshire (CNN) – Sen. Rand Paul, R-Kentucky, and Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus each voiced support Monday for the New Hampshire primary, welcome endorsements for a state that is constantly fighting to protect its unique status as the first state to hold a primary in the race for president.
“I like the process of primaries originating in smaller states,” Paul said before headlining a New Hampshire Republican Party fundraiser. “I’ve seen how the election works around here. I’ve seen how it gets close … there are candidates on every corner meeting and shaking hands and it is a hopeful aspect of politics of meeting people one-on-one even in a nation of three hundred million.”
Paul, who is considering a run for the White House, made similar comments earlier this month when he backed Iowa’s tradition of being the first state to hold a nominating contest – a caucus – that formally kicks off voting for each political party in the race for president. Modern tradition holds that Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina, in that order, are the first three states to cast votes for president. (In recent elections, Nevada has been added to the early state list, but has never been influential in the process).
Priebus, who stood with Paul at the news conference, noted he helped to write “the rule that made New Hampshire a carve out” state, and later added that he is advocating for a shorter Republican primary campaign calendar to allow the eventual GOP nominee more time to prepare for the general election. That would mean moving the Republican National Convention from the final week in August to the last week in June.
“If you have a convention at the end of June, say, well you are probably going to back up to the end of April (or) mid-May,” Priebus said. “Which then means you have a start date of February 1 with your carve outs (states) and March 1 for everyone else.”
The RNC chairman added, “I think there is a pretty broad consensus that we need to end a little sooner, because we need to have our convention sooner.”
In the past, Republicans and Democrats living in larger states such as Florida and Michigan, have complained that Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina have too much influence in deciding who is chosen to be each party’s respective presidential nominee. Meanwhile, in the three carve out states, Republicans and Democrats are united in their desire to maintain this privileged status.