RNC sees benefit to longer primary and caucus season
December 21st, 2011
05:44 PM ET
10 years ago

RNC sees benefit to longer primary and caucus season

(CNN) - As polls continue to show the GOP presidential race has yet to establish a frontrunner with a clear advantage, the likelihood of a longer primary season continues to grow.

And according to the Republican National Committee, that could be a good thing for the GOP.

"It keeps us in the discussion that much longer," Kirsten Kukowski, press secretary for the RNC, told CNN Wednesday.

She pointed to the 2008 presidential election when Democrats didn't clinch their nominee, then-Sen. Barack Obama, until June.

The extended battle between Obama and then-Sen. Hillary Clinton consumed much of the political news, as Republicans had already sealed Sen. John McCain as their nominee three months prior.

"Even though it's a little bit different now because the president is an incumbent and therefore has that megaphone, it (would) keep us as the discussion in a lot of these states," Kukowski said, referring to later contests in the primary and caucus calendar that don't normally hold much influence in a shorter season.

Also, the group said an extended primary keeps more voices on the campaign trail attacking Obama.

Asked about Obama senior strategist David Axelrod's argument that an extended primary will force a candidate to campaign farther to the right, RNC Political Director Rick Wiley said so far most of the candidates' negative attacks have been focused on Obama rather than each other.

"I haven't seen them get pulled that far to the right yet," Wiley said. "They understand you have to distance yourself from your opponents and distinguish yourself."

But the RNC said a longer early voting season has its disadvantages, too – especially when it comes to money.

Kukowski cited the Democratic National Committee and the president's re-election campaign, which have joined forces to raise money for Obama, as a partnership the RNC is unable to mirror until the GOP field narrows down to one candidate.

"We're going to have to have a pretty good idea of who our nominee is before we can even start down that road," she said.

The voting season kicks off on Jan. 3 with the Iowa caucuses. New Hampshire, South Carolina and Florida also hold contests during that month.

The RNC lists a number of battleground states that went to Obama in 2008 but could swing to the red in 2012, including Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania. The group will also focus on winning Indiana, Virginia and North Carolina, three states that also voted for Obama in the last cycle and have since picked up several statewide offices for the GOP, according to Wiley.

Last month, RNC Chairman Reince Priebus said a lengthy primary season could happen, suggesting a candidate may not clinch the nomination until March 6, also known as Super Tuesday, or even the contest-heavy month of April.

"It could be before then, it could be just shortly thereafter," Priebus told CNN Chief Political Correspondent Candy Crowley in November. "I do know we are ready to go and we're ready to help save this country."

Filed under: 2012 • RNC
soundoff (29 Responses)
  1. susan leonhardt

    discussion, all the ads and town meetings the candidates are just bashing the other candidates or blaming the president.. I have yet to her Set plans and details if they were elected. No more flip flopping on topics.

    December 21, 2011 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  2. The Greedy Old PIgs have declared class war on US!

    Typical GOBP deathcult propaganda trying to spin its weakness as a strength. People are paying attention the same way they pay attention to car wrecks. These extreme rightwingers are way out of touch with Main St. America. These ridiculous displays only serve to confirm what more and more Americans are realizing: The GOBP deathcult hates us all and answers only to a very small hidden elite that pulls the puppetstrings.

    December 21, 2011 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  3. T'sah from Virginia

    ►RNC sees benefit to longer primary and caucus season◄
    What the Heck??? Really? It's destroying you. All of that ignorance in the media is getting OLD and as long as the President's numbers of approval keep climbing – you're going to look DUMB out there with the same OLD talking points!!

    Obama 2012!!

    December 21, 2011 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  4. GOP = Greed Over People

    And the general public appreciates it too!.

    It is kinda like a long harvest season for pecans.

    Lots, of time for all the nuts to fall out of the trees.

    December 21, 2011 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  5. NVa Native

    Sure, like earth quakes, record and prolonged heat, tsunamis, multiple hurricanes, continual wild fires, record drought, record level of extreme floods, etc., all of this …..is “normal”.
    So of course the GOP – the party of up is down, bad is good, ugly is pretty – sees their prolonged freak show of fear & hate blended with arrogance & ignorance with a twist of denial up on the stage with a new “flavor of the month” rising to the top every three weeks or so – that’s a good thing.
    No argument from the Dems I’m sure.

    December 21, 2011 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
  6. Deep in the heart of TX

    I agree keep the primary going as long as possible.

    Perry spent 6 million in the last 2 weeks trying to buy some relevancy, and that is 6 million less he could have added to the general RNC war chest.

    December 21, 2011 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  7. Marr

    You can't even say with any certainty that Romney will be the nominee. When the conservative candidates start dropping out and all their supporters rally behind behind one conservative, that support will exceed Romney's. I think this will be a very long campaign season.

    December 21, 2011 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  8. They ought to change from the elephant to the hippo...

    I'm sure Reince Pubis is thrilled to have the debate go on longer... More fleece from the sheep! Now if only his candidates wouldn't keep making complete fools of themselves.... The Pubs must be counting on amnesia for next November.

    December 21, 2011 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  9. Jim in San Mateo

    Amusing. The GOP, has no electable candidate so the length of the primary season is of no consequence. Romney is not electable in the primary. Newt and Ron Paul are electable in the primary, but not in the general. It matters not what the GOP does or how long they do it. The only thing that matters now is the Congressional elections to see whether or not we have two more years of gridlock or whether the American people wise up and return control of the House to the Democrats so Congress can once again become functional and this Country can move forward in it's economic recovery.

    December 21, 2011 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  10. Indy

    David Axelrod wins this arguement hands down ! The longer these Republicans candidates are out there the better Obama looks

    December 21, 2011 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  11. rs

    The clear advantage to the longer primary season is that it has the potential to maximize potential candiates in the media and in forums like the "debates". Unfortunately for the GOP/TP, this time it has shown America that in fact, they have nothing to offer.

    December 21, 2011 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  12. John

    But all you got Is a bunch of Clowns. Clown that don't stand a chance of winning.

    December 21, 2011 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  13. Perry W

    Anyone that vote republican, I have ocean front property to sell them in Kansas!

    December 21, 2011 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  14. Thomas

    No Kidding , if it was any shorter the RNC would be slammed !

    At lest they can hope the market has a downturn and they have at the election.

    December 21, 2011 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  15. Rudy NYC

    I wouldn't mind a long Republican primary season. It will give more voters to have a chance to express their choice of candidate. I thought that the Republican primaries in 2008 were a shame to most of the Republicans across the country. Let every vote count. Most of the candidates dropped out of the race before it really got started.

    December 21, 2011 07:06 pm at 7:06 pm |

    Obama 2012!!!

    December 21, 2011 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
  17. Dan5404

    I agree. They are trying for an all-time low approval rating, so let'e give them time to achieve that lofty goal.. All they have to do is continue being thenmselves.

    December 21, 2011 07:58 pm at 7:58 pm |
  18. bonesbone

    Hey, Special Interest has deep pockets and the GOP loves their money!

    December 21, 2011 08:11 pm at 8:11 pm |
  19. GetReal

    The RNC's only strategy is to inflict as much damage on Obama with as many candidates as possible, for as long as they can. They have gerrymandered the precincts, created superpacs to spread their lies, and restricted voter registration. In the end, voters will reject the lies and punish the GOP for trying to cheat the electoral system. Dishonesty is repulsive to voters, especially when candidates make pledges to someone else.

    December 21, 2011 08:43 pm at 8:43 pm |
  20. manhandler

    Are you kidding me? They've pretty much ruined any chance they had of beating Obama because of way too many debates. It gave us all a real opporrtunity to see that this was a nothing but a big group of clowns.

    December 21, 2011 09:14 pm at 9:14 pm |
  21. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    It could be good for lots of people. It could weed out the poor choices for the GOP (that would be all of them). It will also provide Obama's campaign way to poke at the enventual nominee.

    December 21, 2011 09:35 pm at 9:35 pm |
  22. yu

    Sarah Palin will be the GOP nomminee

    December 21, 2011 09:43 pm at 9:43 pm |
  23. Kevin

    Meanwhile, Obama's head-to-heads against the GOP keep improving, and the generic ballot advantage keeps growing for the Democrats.

    This is pure spin.

    December 21, 2011 11:07 pm at 11:07 pm |
  24. Malcolm in St Louis

    If the RNC think an extension of this farcical race into next summer is going top help them, then they are way dumber than I thought....

    December 21, 2011 11:44 pm at 11:44 pm |
  25. ThinkAgain

    The GOP likes it because all they've got is a bunch of loons who stir their base while continuing to put down President Obama.

    What else do you expect from a party that has nothing to offer the American people and whose economic, military and foreign policies are all PROVEN FAILURES?

    December 22, 2011 02:14 am at 2:14 am |
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