Discuss as:

Republicans approve rules to shorten primary calendar

The Republican National Committee on Friday approved a rules package aimed at condensing the 2016 nominating process -- a move designed to protect their next presidential nominee from a prolonged, damaging primary.

"After the 2012 presidential election it became clear the Party needed to take steps to help give our future presidential nominees a better infrastructure to help win the White House," the party said after approving changes in a 153-9 vote.

Under the new rules, the process will allow Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada to retain their status as early states. Those contests must be held after Feb. 1.

All other states are required to hold their contests after March 1. States that move earlier will see their delegates cut to a dozen or fewer.

Additionally, any state that holds its nominating contest between March 1 and March 14 will have to award delegates proportionally, instead of in a winner-take-all system.

RNC Chairman Reince Prienus has made clear he wants to hold the convention the last week in June or the first two weeks in July, and these rules changes will accommodate that. They have not officially set the date of the convention yet.

The RNC also selected the committee that will decide where the 2016 convention is held; it includes committee members from Iowa and New Hampshire.