Memphis, Tennessee (CNN) – The Republican National Committee overwhelmingly approved a measure Friday that will punish candidates seeking the 2016 Republican presidential nomination if they participate in debates that are not sanctioned by the national party.
The penalty is meant to give the RNC more control over the presidential nominating process after party leaders watched a nasty, drawn-out primary in 2012 that included 20 major debates. Only seven RNC members opposed the new “rule,” while 152 supported it. The RNC also created a new committee that will oversee the GOP primary debate process including the timing, location and media partners for the debates.
Before the vote, RNC Chairman Reince Priebus consulted with the various candidates who are said to be considering running for the GOP nomination in an attempt to get their support for the new penalty.
Gaining more control over the presidential primary debates is just one step Priebus is taking to try and exert influence over the presidential primary process.
He also announced at the RNC meeting here in Memphis that the 2016 Republican National Convention would be held no earlier than June 27 and no later than July 18. The rational for holding the convention earlier rather than later in the summer is that it will give the Republican nominee the ability to focus his full attention on winning the general election in November.
Cincinnati, Cleveland, Dallas, Denver, Kansas City and Las Vegas are all vying to host the GOP convention in 2016.